Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drama. Show all posts

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Equilibrium Movie Review

Movie revirew of Equilibrium

Director: Kurt Wimmer

Release Year: 2002

Running Time: 107 minutes 

Starring: Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Dominic Purcell, Sean Pertwee, William Fichtner, Taye Diggs

"Equilibrium" is a sci-fi film that has more truth in it than viewers would think.  In a fascist world of the future, after a Third World War, a totalitarian government controls whats left of mankind - a not so farfetched idea.  The film stars Christian Bale, in the lead role, and combines a deeply embedded and thought out storyline with entertaining kung-fu styled gun fighting. 

In "Equilibrium", the world is not as we know it. A totalitarian government has taken control after a huge war and they nearly have control of everything. In an effort to keep peace and society obedient, they use an injection to stop people feeling.  Out of the city, rebels lurk, trying to survive and storing relics of what is now the old world; photos, ornaments, paintings and anything that is culturally relevant.  The government sends out teams of Clerics who are ordered to destroy any art form and bring to justice those who can still feel. John Preston (Bale) is one of the best clerics and soon realises what has happened, as he regains his feelings he fights against the whole system to try and overthrow the government. 

Review, rating, trailer and photos of Equilibirum

"Equilibrium" is a great sci-fi film which many viewers can enjoy.  First of all the story line is great.  It is well developed and then pushed to the depths of the movie.  Not much reference or information is needed as the storyline floods through each layer of the movie from the way it has been created. This enables the movie to show different aspects  like the incredibly fast paced shooting scenes.  A cross between "The Matrix" (1999) and "Enter the Dragon" (1973), the movie comes alive anytime character John Preston has to kill someone or even a large group of people. A very well choreographed fight plan throughout the film keeps the excitement high and the viewer engaged for longer.  

Equilibrium movie review

Bale's class shines above anyone else in the film and it is a great demonstration of the skills that would have played a part in him being chosen to play Christopher Nolan's Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy. Slick and professional, Bale is able to portray the traits and mannerisms of someone who is gradually gaining their feelings and emotions back in what is very nearly an emotionless world.  Sean Bean, as he often does, has a small part in the film but his character sets in motion John Preston's emotional rediscovery.  Taye Diggs plays one of the films adversaries and is very accomplished in the role. 

"Equilibrium" provides an action packed movie, set against a dark backdrop. Its storyline is well thought out but is left unexplored by the characters themselves.  The questioning of who controls our world and the inner questioning of who we are and want to be feature in the film - leading to interesting discussion and thoughts.  "Equilibrium" combines both a clever plot with good action to culminate in to a great film.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Brothers Movie Review

Brothers Movie Review starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman

Director: Jim Sheridan

Release Year: 2009

Running Time: 105 minutes

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Carey Mulligan

"Brothers" was based on a film directed by Susanne Bier known as "Brødre".  This American version however was directed by Irish director Jim Sheridan.  An interesting film that looks into the effect the war in the Middle East has had on one family. Undoubtedly "Brothers" brings out some excellent performances, certainly from Tobey Maguire who gives one of, if not, the best performance of his career.

Sam Cahill (Maguire) has a nice family, married to Grace (Natalie Portman) with two young daughters. He is in the Marine Corps and is often stationed in Afghanastan. Sam is respected by all, especially his parents.  However, his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the total opposite.  A failure in life and just out of prison he comes back to the family causing rifts.  With Sam heading back out to Afghanistan, questions are answered on how difficult it is for families with loved ones who are serving in the military and ultimately the effect it can have on everyone involved with quite devastating and unpredictable outcomes. 

Movie review, rating, trailer and photos of Brothers

The storyline is interesting, because it involves real life situations.  It makes the film very relateable.  The flow of the storyline however, is rather ragged and dismantled.  This is to show how lives like this are in real life.  It is not easy for any person involved when a loved one is going out to fight for his country abroad.  The storyline in "Brothers" enables the viewer to construct their own thoughts on events and connects to them at an honest level.  The rough feel to the plot gives the movie an incredible sense of realness.  One discrepancy in the plot is that due to its non-flowing nature, if it was not for the excellent performance provided by those involved, there would be nothing linking scene to scene, or, relationship to relationship. 

Movie review of Brothers (2009)

The three leads in the film take full advantage of excellently thought out characters. Maguire shows a darkness in his depiction of Sam, something that has not been seen before by the former Spider Man actor.  Credit is thoroughly deserved for his role - the changes in personality he shows for what his character has been through make for excellent viewing.  Both Portman and Gyllenhaal back up Macguire's terrific performance with excellent portrayals themselves.  Both adding varying dimensions to their characters. 

"Brothers" is a solid film to watch.  However, we cannot help but think that without the great performances from the cast this film would have suffered.  There is no real climax to come by the end of the film and at certain points the plot becomes very predictable.  The film survives on the backbone of the strong performances provided by the lead cast members that make this film much better than average.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Godfather Movie Review

The Godfather movie review

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

First Release Date: 24th March 1972 (US)

Running Time: 175 minutes 

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Richard S. Castellano

If you have not heard of "The Godfather" then you will have to question your love for films.  However, saying that, it has taken ourselves at M+F Reviews until 2014 to watch one of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time.  Admittedly this is poor on our part, yet it is a long film with a run time just short of three hours long, you certainly need a long evening to watch it. Classed and described as the film that changed cinema and reinvented ways that the mafia and mob are portrayed in films, "The Godfather" most definitely is the Godfather to these types of film. 

The film centers around the Corleone family in New York.  Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the Don of this crime family, which is one of five mafia crime families.  His youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino) insists he does not want anything to do with the family and its crime related antics and he in enlisted in the Marine Corps.  However, this soon changes when Vito is targeted by the rival families.  As the Corleone's face challenges to their power from all over they must use their wit to survive and remain on top. 

Movie review of The Godfather

One key aspect to the success of "The Godfather" are the characters.  The film is based on the novel also named The Godfather and a lot of credit has to be put down to this. However, we often seen adaptations of books on the big screen and they fail to live up to the expectation and prestige of how they appear in the book.  The good thing is, "The Godfather" is different from the norm. The presence of the characters on screen is spot on and there are no faults with them.  What's striking about the movie is the actors who play the characters are also an incredible match. You do not question them at all throughout the film. This is not just in reference to the main characters of the film like Vito and Michael but even down to the supporting cast, "The Godfather" excels. 

A film of this magnitude, of course has a superstar cast.  Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton to name only a handful. Each of these provide incredible authentic performances that match the feel of the film.  Whether they are portraying a more intelligent character like Al Pacino's Michael or whether it is one of his love interests Kay, played by Diane Keaton, they are superb.  The interlinking between the cast's characters is flawless and is a pleasure to watch.

Review, rating, trailer and photos of The Godfather

Even more impressive about "The Godfather" is the relatively slow paced rhythm to the film. Nothing is rushed, scenes are eased out and extended adding to whatever emotion or feeling is being felt or expressed at the time. It is this excellent directing and acting that really brings the movie to life. For a moment you are watching a film but it feels so real. The usual quick paced feel to a film is gone and you are living the events that occur in real time.

"The Godfather", which is now over forty years old remains a pinnacle in the film and movie industry.  It set up a benchmark which is hard for any film to match. Its influence can be seen in movies made all over the world. The directing, acting, characters, screenplay and dialogue mix together to make a film that is perfectly rounded.  It is entertaining, exciting and a pleasure to watch. A definite must for all film fans.

M+F Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Fifth Estate Movie Review

The Fifth Estate movie review, rating, trailer and photos.

Director: Bill Condon

First Release Date: 11th October 2013 (UK)

Running Time: 128 minutes

 Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci, Peter Capaldi, Alicia Vikander, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie

"The Fifth Estate" is a film based on  real events - the 'information revolution' of the 21st Century.  It's story and content is based lossely on two books both published in 2011; Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange and the World's Most Dangerous Website by Domscheit-Berg and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by David Leigh and Luke Harding.  It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, the man behind the WikiLeaks website and also Daniel Brühl, David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci and Laura Linney.

The film centers around journalist Daniel Berg (Brühl). From his first encounter with Julian Assange (Cumberbatch) to the stories and secrets they revealed via WikiLeaks.  Daniel finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of activism for freedom of information.  As time goes on, cracks can be seen to form in his relationship with Julian as he finds himself in over his head going up against the biggest and most powerful governments of the time. 

Movie review of the Fifth Estate - a film about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

Half of the aspects of "The Fifth Estate" are excellent however the other half ruin the film. It is a real mix of good and bad but despite this is still a relatively okay film overall.  For anyone who has followed the news the last few years will be familiar with the story and rise of WikiLeaks - a non-profit organisation that uploads secrets, news leaks and classified truths from anonymous 'whistle blowers'.  This movie depicts to the full extent the major stories and cover-ups that WikiLeaks has leaked.  It is filled with basic content of the countless leaks they made available to the world. 

"The Fifth Estate" features a relatively well known cast but the one stand out is Cumberbatch.  With dyed white hair and an Australian accent, Cumberbatch is Assange.  He portrays Assange's, mannerisms perfectly and is extremely convincing in the title role.  Without Cumberbatch, "The Fifth Estate" would have petered out into nothing.  He really is the driving force behind any success or positive reaction that the film gains. 

The other well known actors are all okay. However, they do fall into the shadows, cast by Cumberbatch's performance.  Brühl is good as Daniel Berg and the supporting cast including Thewlis, Linney, Tucci and Peter Calpaldi are all solid but far from amazing.  In this film they define the word 'supporting'.  Not one stands out or affects the overall outcome of the film from their own performance.  

Movie review of The Fifth Estate starring Cumberbatch, Bruhl, Thewlis, Capaldi, Tucci and Linney.

It is the look, feel and directing of "The Fifth Estate" where it ultimately falls down. The content is there albeit very consuming, however director Bill Condon does well to make this understandable for the audience.  The problem is that in a way there is too much content - it does not allow for any real story or drama to occur or take place.  It is based on two books so does has room to maneuver in a story that could grab and pull the audience in yet it sticks to the rather risk-less portrayal of event after event (this happened, then this happened and so on ).  When thought about and understood in this manner "The Fifth Estate" is not a good film at all.  There seemed to be no effort to make it into an exciting film - in fact you could go as far to say this would have been better as a documentary rather than a movie. 

"The Fifth Estate" is an interesting film in two ways; firstly, the content is relatively engaging and engrossing, secondly it really is difficult to work out your own feelings about the film.  On the one hand, you have an excellent performance from Cumberbatch that is unmatched by anyone else on set, but then the general direction of the film really lets it down.  Saying this, the film is still above average but this is down rather to the true story content that the film depicts from the two books it is loosely based upon. "The Fifth Estate" is an okay film that is far from excellent. It is spearheaded by the sublime performance from Cumberbatch but with below average direction the movie equates to nothing more than a content filled, drama lacking movie. 

M+F Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Casino Movie Review

Movie review of Martin Scorsese's Casino starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci

Director: Martin Scorsese

First Release Date: 22nd November 1995 (US)

Running Time: 178 minutes 

Starring: Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, James Woods

"Casino" is a 1995 Martin Scorsese classic. The film has Scorsese written all over it from the script, screenplay and filming style used. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci star is this highly entertaining and quick-witted movie. 

In a time where Las Vegas is ran by gang criminals, Sam 'Ace' Rothstein (De Niro) and Nicky (Pesci), work there way into the Las Vegas scene. The gang bosses can't go to Vegas themselves so use others to filter money out. With a changing job title to avoid getting caught, Ace is the effective owner of the Tangiers Casino and is successful at doing so. Nicky has his own way of doing things and with the FBI on the prowl and Ace's wife, Ginger (Stone) very unstable, the whole mob world starts to collapse around them both. 

Movie review, trailer, rating and photos of Casino movie.

The film blasts off and captures the audience straight away.  Within minutes, events in the film engage the audience.  The movie then plays through events that lead to the beginning scene before venturing past that event. Much of "Casino" is portrayed through voice-overs by the two main characters Ace and Nicky. This way of story telling works very well in the setting that Scorsese sets up.  By providing this explanation via narration from the characters themselves, it gives the movie an alternate dimension.  It gives them a chance to explain what they are doing and the reasons why.  This is needed in a film that is just shy of three hours long and features an extensive cast with many characters and interlocking plot lines.

It is impossible to argue that De Niro and Pesci do not carry the film. As always in Scorsese movies, the general cast are great but like with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in the more recent "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013), De Niro and Pesci steal the show.  Having worked with Scorsese before, both De Niro and Pesci were able to overcome the feel of familiarity and are able to make this film feel fresh and exciting.  It feels wrong to have an insight and to feel part of how the mob infiltrated Las Vegas yet so right at the same time. 

Martin Scorsese's Casino movie review

"Casino" features a great deal of violence which is at times over the top, however this is true to Scorsese's style.  Combined with the violence is the intricate story of ultimately three characters lives as they do living and at times this works well together but on the other hand they clash.  De Niro plays his character perfectly. Powerful yet so quiet and calm.  This portrays a character that holds an incredible screen presence. Pesci's character is rather different. Brash, tough and seemingly less clever, Nicky provides the more humorous scenes that make the movie even more enjoyable.

"Casino" is definitely a film that people can enjoy.  It may be a bit too graphic for some, however that does not make it a bad film by any means.  It is crafted cleverly in a way that makes an intricate movie through Scorsese's own special way of film-making.  It takes the time it needs to piece the whole plot and character sequences together without rushing any scene.  "Casino" is a great film which contains great dialect, characters and is thoroughly entertaining.

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Diana Movie Review

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

UK Release Date: 20th September 2013

Running Time: 113 minutes 

Starring: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Cas Anvar, Geraldine James, Douglas Hodge

"Diana" is a film that was highly anticipated for one reason;  it is a movie about Diana, Princess of Wales who was tragically killed in France in 1998.  Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, "Diana" unfortunately does not do justice to the once most famous woman in the world. Despite this, the film still manages to deliver an emotional connection to the audience but even this can be attributed to the connection/remembrance to Diana herself, not the film.

The film portrays the latter years of Princess Diana's life, showing major events that occurred.  Having split from the Royal Family, Diana (Naomi Watts) looks for and finds her true love, Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) a heart surgeon. They try to find a balance between their different lives and quite differing personalities. 

It was always going to be difficult for any director, cast and film to make a movie 'work' when it is going to be about Princess Diana.  Unfortunately, "Diana" is not a film that is a good portrayal of the final years of Diana's life or even a good film at all. Most things related to the film do not work or feel as if they fit it together in a way that allows the movie to flow.  It is jagged, empty and ultimately very disappointing.  

With this film, an opportunity was presented to make a very good film. However, the casting has to be questioned.  It is important to be clear here,  Naomi Watts is an good actress, however she does not present a good portrayal or representation of Diana. This is in all aspects.  Unless it is from distance, she does not look like Diana, neither does she sound like Diana.  Unfortunately, her mannerisms are not perfect and this makes the film feel unauthentic. This is nothing against Watts, but she was just not right for the role.  The portrayal and script also present Diana in a way that is not what we are accustomed to.  From watching the film you would think that Diana was  shallow. Hirschbiegel may be trying to over compensate her innocence but on the screen it does not come across this way. 

"Diana" generally feels odd.  The film starts slowly and rarely gets going.  It is interrupted throughout by too many scenes of silence which do not enable and storyline or plot to develop in a way that is watchable.  It rushes over important events nearer the end of her life and portrays her in a way that can only be described as degrading.  

The movie is definitely not what you wold expect before watching.  It does not inspire like a film about Diana should.  It is a poor attempt at making a film of the last few years of her life. The sole focus is on the relationships that defined her final years but even this is not done to great effect.  It is able to bring out an emotional response by the end of the film but this is limited.  "Diana" is unable to live up to the fame of the real person it portrays and turns out to be a very frustrating and discouraging movie.

M+F Rating: 4/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Delivery Man Movie Review

Movie review of Delivery Man starring Vince Vaughan directed by Ken Scott

Director: Ken Scott

UK Release Date:10th January 2014

Running Time: 105 minutes 

Starring: Vince Vaughan, Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt

"Delivery Man" is a movie billed as a comedy that doesn't turn out to be that funny. However, it is far from a bad film. Based on a Canadian French film called "Starbuck" (2011), Delivery Man stars Vince Vaughan in the title role, backed up by Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders. 

David also known as "Starbuck" (2011) is a delivery man for his family run meat business. He is lazy, untrustworthy and a liability.  While trying to sort his life out he finds out that he is the father to over 500 children through a mistake that was made at the fertility clinic he provided for in his early twenties. He faces the task of remaining anonymous while his biological children hunt to find out who their real father is. 

The storyline for the film already sounds quite 'out-there' and maybe that's why the film abandons some of the usual 'in your face' comedy. The lack of comedy is by no means a complaint. It enables the film to move forward on another more emotional front. By allowing this the movie feels more realistic and more raw emotions can be seen which are generally lost in a usual comedy. 

Delivery Man movie review, trailer, rating and photos

Vaughan plays a slightly different character than what we see normally. This again is linked in with the lack of comedy provided in "Delivery Man". He is more serious and provides an easy to watch pleasant performance. Pratt and Smulders are unable to add much to the film which is unfortunate especially due to the latters performance in television hit "How I Met Your Mother (2005 - Current).  The problem faced for both is lack of quality screen time. The film is based around Vaughan's character and with 500+ children, screen time is limited. 

"Delivery Man" does lack a certain quality to push it to the next level.  With a lack of comedy it does not push through the serious aspect enough and the emotional connection with the audience is then limited.  This is unfortunate - the film remains at the same pace throughout and does not take advantage of the opportunity it has.  It is a good film but does not push areas of the film enough so it feels flat. 

"Delivery Man" is a surprising film.  It is not what you come to expect from a Vince Vaughan film and typically is better.  It is easy to follow and is a film that will make you feel good by the end. However, you will feel a bit disappointed as the movie does not excel really in anyway.  The storyline is different to other films however if you have seen "Starbuck" then apparently you will be in for a film that you have seen before. Other critics have displayed concerns over the movie following the exact same storyline scene for scene. Despite this, you will enjoy the film for what it is even though it will never be a huge blockbuster.

M+F Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Gravity Movie Review

Gravity Movie Review starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

UK Release Date: 7th November 2013

Running Time: 91 minutes

Staring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

Winning seven Academy Awards and six BAFTAs, it is almost impossible to not know of "Gravity".  Directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the film has certainly impressed the majority of critics who have watched it. It definitely is one of the most aesthetically pleasing films you will see, with breathtaking shots from space and it portrays the sense of loneliness that lies just outside of our atmosphere which seeps into the room as you watch.

Gravity, stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock - movie review, trailer, rating and photos

Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is on her first space mission with Matt Kowalski (Clooney) and they are on a space walk to do maintenance work on the Hubble Telescope.  While doing so, an incoming message from Houston warns the team that an unused Russian Satellite has been destroyed by the Russians.  This has caused a chain reaction of debris to smash around Earths atmosphere colliding into other satellites and is aiming right towards Stone and Kowalski. 

The film is incredible in being able to portray what space is like.  Vast scenes of silence swallow the audience into the depths of space.  "Gravity" is filmed in a way that is really aesthetic.  It looks great.  Each shot has been choreographed properly to give an excellent feel of gravity.  The soundtrack compliments the film perfectly and helps engage the audience.  It really is a film that effects those watching. You feel as if you are in space yourself and can feel nerve wracking effects as the film progresses.  Cuarón has directed this movie to reach the heights of space (pun intended) but there are aspects where the film disappoints. 

Movie review, trailer, rating and stills from Gravity

The length of the film is very short at only 90 minutes long.  It seems to be over very quickly.  This combined with a quite plain storyline is disappointing.  It is predictable and it would have been good to see other characters to be more prominent throughout.  Bullock's performance is solid enough throughout and she is able to hold the movie and the part being the solo main character. If she had not been able to do this the film could have failed completely.  

Apart from these small issues, "Gravity" is an excellent looking film to watch. It is exciting, exhilarating and will certainly take your breath away.  Apart from a slightly disappointing storyline which lacked depth, the films feel and look certainly make up for this.  However, in comparison to films like "12 Years a Slave" (2013), "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013) and even "Captain Phillips" (2013), after you have viewed "Gravity" you will not feel as impressed.  It is definitely worth watching, with great shots and an overall feel that has been cleverly put together.  

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Lee Daniels' The Butler Movie Review

Lee Daniel's The Butler Movie Review, Rating, Trailer, Photos

Director: Lee Daniels

UK Release Date: 15th November 2013

Running Time: 132 minutes 

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" is a film that is based very roughly on the life of Eugene Allen, who was a butler in the White House for 34 years.  The film is not a complete recreation of his life however and certain facts are changed for the story of the film which ultimately servers a different purpose rather than just telling the life of the main character Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker).  

Cecil's life starts off like many African-American children's did in the early 1900's - on a cotton farm in the South as a slave.  Working on the fields with his mother and father until his circumstances change he becomes a slave working in the house.  Following his progress from slave to White House butler, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" is set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement in America and ultimately shows the history of the Movement up until Barack Obama becomes President in 2008. 

Movie review, trailer, photos and rating of Lee Daniels' The Butler

Starring one of the largest well known cast of recent times, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" features representations of real historical figures such as Martin Luther King (Nelsan Ellis), Dwight D. Eisenhower (Robin Williams), Richard Nixon (John Cusack) and Lyndon B. Johnson (Lieve Schreiber).  The majority of characters are played by well known actors or musicians but the question remains as to why?  Mariah Carey plays Cecil's mother, but is seen on screen for no longer than a minute. The huge well known cast list is strange considering that most of them only hold small parts within the film.  The point here is that using these actors in small roles works in a negative way for the film as not one of them has enough time on screen to influence the movie in any specific way.  

The slow paced nature to the film helps incredibly in understanding everything that is going on but falls down in terms of providing the details that a topic of this nature deserves.  The movie highlights the key points during the Civil Rights Movement but rarely goes further than acknowledging the basic facts.  This is disappointing as the film neglects staying true to the portrayal of Eugene Allen's real life and does not justify this in its basic step by step guide of the Civil Rights Movement.  "Lee Daniel's The Butler" glosses over many important historical moments and events which if developed further could have really made an impact to the storyline of the film.

Lee Daniels' The Butler film review

The main highlight of the film is the delightful performance provided by Forest Whitaker.  Potentially the best acting performance of his career to date, Whitaker, is sublime as Cecil Gaines.  He is able to draw in the audience to his character who is easy to relate to and is  powerful in his own humbling way.  His loose portrayal of Eugene Allen is both intriguing and is perfect in keeping the audience engaged throughout the whole film.

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" is an interesting movie than is more informative than anything else.  It offers a good basic account of the key aspects of the Civil Rights Movement and features a very impressive and well deserved performance from Whitaker. Despite its slightly lackluster feel, "Lee Daniels' The Butler" is an inspiring film that will have you researching the real life story of Cecil Gaines which will direct you to Eugene Allen. It is interesting movie that you will enjoy.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

50/50 Movie Review

50/50 Movie Review starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen

Director: Jonathan Levine 

UK Release Date: 25th November 2011

Running Time: 100 minutes

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick, Seth Rogen, Bryce Dallas-Howard, Phillip Baker Hall

Originally put off by the concept of "50/50", it pleasantly surprised and impressed with its humble and respectful nature.  The comedy and drama based on a difficult topic is portrayed in a way that is effortless and appreciates the tough nature of the topic.  Jonathan Levine directs a brilliantly moving film that is both engaging and touching. 

"50/50" is based loosely on a true story.  Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when he is 27 years old and this leaves him with a 50% chance of living.  With support from his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and his support therapist, Katherine (Anna Kendrick) Adam tries to come to terms with his illness and make sense of his life.  The film also takes into consideration the effect his illness has on others in his life, including his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas-Howard) and his mother Diana (Anjelica Huston). 

50/50 movie review, rating, trailer and photos

Considering the sensitive topic the film consists of, "50/50" is a really great film.  The script hits the perfect balance between comedy and drama with characters that are excellent for the storyline.  Gordon-Levitt, Rogen and Kendrick bring the film up a notch from being your average sort of comedy.  In ways it is similar to "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), in that it is a comedy centered around a more serious topic rather than just a comedy aiming to be silly and achieve cheap laughs.   This really works for the movie and is backed up by the performances of the actors involved.

A lot of the credit has to go down to Gordon-Levitt who gives one of the best performances of his career. He really was able to take on the character and was believable throughout.  He was perfect for the role as he has achieved success in character roles that are both dramatic and comical making him ready for this type of role.  In more of a supporting role, both Rogen and Kendrick offer innocence, honesty and the more comical parts of the film.  Rogen's character, Kyle, is very 'Rogen' but is scaled back slightly to fit in line with the film. As the movie goes on, you can see how his character changes at the realisation of the seriousness of his best friend's illness - something that really pushed through the emotive side of the film.  Kendrick's character also offers an alternative outlook with her excellently portrayed character who is new to the job of therapy.  The relationship she holds on screen with Gordon-Levitt is good to watch and is very sweet.

Movie review of 50/50

"50/50" really is a film that will surprise anyone who watches it.  It offers a compelling storyline that features different genre aspects that fit well together.  The acting is pleasant and respectful and background aspects of the film such as the soundtrack are also very good.  Michael Giacchino is the person responsible for this and many will recognise the sound of his music from the hit television series "Lost" (2004-2010). While watching this movie you will become engrossed in the story and will fall in love with a few of the characters and their relationships.  An emotional and inspirational film, "50/50" was a great surprise watch and deserves the good critical response it received.

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Titanic Movie Review

Review of Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet

Director: James Cameron

UK Release Date: 23rd January 1998

Running Time: 194 minutes

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Gloria Stuart

From director James Cameron comes "Titanic" - a film loosely based on the passenger liner RMS Titanic that struck an iceberg and sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on the 15th April 1912.  A hugely critically acclaimed film, "Titanic" brings the sad true story of loss from the ship entwined within a fictional love story that is both gripping and emotional.  This romantic drama features a good storyline, interesting characters, a beautiful soundtrack and most importantly hits the balance between romance and drama perfectly.

The film features an older and younger version of one of the main characters, Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet), as she tells the story of the Titanic to a group who are searching for lost treasure on the ship wreck. She explains the beauty of the Titanic and her story, from when the ship set sail and how she met Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young broke artist.  As the Titanic continues its voyage and its eventual end, the story and connection between Rose and Jack only strengthens.

Titanic movie review, rating, photos and trailer

The film is very impressive in terms of looks.  The recreation of the incredible passenger ship looks amazing on screen and full credit has to go to the team behind the film for this.  The magnitude of the ship is portrayed very well and its pure beauty is brought back to life.  The realism helps a great deal in relating to the movie - it also keeps it respectable as there was a huge loss of life in the maritime disaster. 

The characters in "Titanic" are primarily made up.  Obviously some characters, like the boats Captain, are not 'made-up' as such but even the characters that are fully fictional like Jack and Rose fit into the film very well.  For anyone who did not know, they could have been real and the film could have been a full reconstructions of the Titanic's maiden voyage. The two aspects of the movie fit together well with the story of love and romance flowing perfectly along with the story of the Titanic until the very end where the two collide in an excellent yet emotional movie ending. 

Movie review, rating, trailer and photos of Titanic

DiCaprio, who after Titanic has gone onto star in films like Shutter Island (2010), Inception (2010) and more recently "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013), gives a good performance alongside Winslet who also provides a promising display.  As the two title characters, their on screen relationship is great and they both really show the talent they had at a young age.  DiCaprio's youthfulness is perfect for his character and helps "Titanic" portray the innocence of people who were on the ship.

The soundtrack for "Titanic" is also very good. Most of you would have heard of the main song for the movie, 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion (This is an extended version),  and it really is a perfect accompanying song for the film.  It is emotive and parts of it are played throughout enabling the audience to build a relationship with the song and characters.  It bears a resemblance to a song from "Braveheart" (1995) in the instruments used.  The song is very powerful and whenever you hear it after watching the movie, it  hits you in the stomach as you think of the film.

"Titanic" is an excellent film that is able to combine the real story of the ship that did not make it across the Atlantic Ocean with the fictional love story between two young characters.  The look and feel of the movie is great and each scene is depicted perfectly.  The optimism shown as the Titanic sets sails really sets the film up to be great and it flows effortlessly from scene to scene. It looks aesthetically pleasing, with a good soundtrack and theme song while also provoking the audiences emotions. A great film all around.

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

American Hustle Review

American Hustle starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper Movie Review

Director: David O. Russell

UK Release date: 1st January 2014

Running Time: 138 minutes

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Robert De Niro

One of the last years biggest films and one that won at the BAFTA's and was unlucky not to win at the Oscars was "American Hustle" from David O. Russel whose other work includes "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012) and "The Fighter" (2012).   Bringing in a star studded cast of actors, some of which he has worked before, "American Hustle" is an impressive, stylish and entertaining film on all levels.  The cast list includes Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner with Michael Pena and Robert De Niro in much smaller roles.

Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) is a hustler but he only hustles enough to not get in too deep.  Along with his partner Sydney Prosser (Adams), the pair are forced to team up with a crazy and practically out of control FBI agent, Richie DiMaso (Cooper) and end up coming head to  head with the Mafia and others in their plan to escape facing justice or even worse. 

American Hustle Movie Review

The whole film has a touch of class from the details portrayed, to the costumes, lighting, music and acting performances, it really is aesthetically pleasing to watch. O. Russell's vision is crisp and clear cut, making the movie engaging throughout.  The film oozes confidence and the on screen relationships works perfectly, leading to great individual performances.  

Of these, Bale stands out.  Boasting a pot-belly that is far from his usual look he does not just portray the character of Irving Rosenfield - he is Irving Rosenfield.  He is convincing, funny and relateable making it believeable that his character is someone who knows what they are doing while also feeling the frustration of having to listen to someone who does not know what they are doing, which in this case is Richie DiMaso. From the way he holds himself and the accent used, Bale really shows how good of an actor he is. 

The rest of the cast is also very impressive, albeit not in the same league as Bale.  Adams and Lawrence deliver two great performances that bring a different dimension to the film.  They bring stability and quirkiness to the scenes they appear in and particularly help in the twists that appear throughout the movie.  Likewise, Cooper and Renner, give honest performances that fit perfectly into the film.  Both particularly fit into the style of the film with there fashioned hair-dos.

America Hustle Movie Review

The soundtrack used for the film is also very impressive featuring songs from Duke Ellington and Electric Light Orchestra. One song by the latter is also the main theme for the movie and is one you will be purchasing afterwards.  The music fits in perfectly with each scene and especially in two scenes where charcters are singing along to the music track - it really adds to the movie, providing both comedy and realism.

"American Hustle" is definitely a must watch film.  From great acting and directing to set design and accompanying soundtrack, this movie has it all to bring a well rounded film to the big screen.  The dialect is interesting and the movie itself will keep you guessing right up to the end.  It was unlucky to come away from the Oscars empty handed but there is no shame when other excellent films like "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013) also failed to pick up any awards.  It really does show the great depth of films that have ben produced in the last year.

M+F Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Welcome to Sarajevo Movie Review

Welcome to Sarajevo review, trailer, photos and rating.

Director: Michael Winterbottom

UK Release Date: 21st November 1997

Running Time: 103 minutes 

Starring: Stephen Dillane, Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, James Nesbitt

 If you are familiar with any of Michael Winterbottom's films then you will certainly know "Welcome to Sarajevo".  It was filmed shortly after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina which saw the mass murder of many innocent civilians.  Sarajevo became a city of war where no one was safe as snipers waited on rooftops and where mortars and landmines were common place. "Welcome to Sarajevo" is based on the book written by journalist Michael Nicholson called Natasha's Story.

The film follows Michael Henderson (Stephen Dillane) as he reports with his cameraman, Gregg (James Nesbitt) on the atrocities in Sarajevo.  The group of journalists including American, Flynn (Woody Harrelson), risk their lives to cover the murders of innocent civilians around the besieged city.  To their frustration, their reports hardly make the news back in their respective countries leading Henderson to search for a different outlook to show what is going on.  After finding an orphanage that is keeping children safe within the city, Henderson gets more involved than what he thought he would have after formed a bond with one of the children.

Welcome to Sarajevo based on the book, Natasha's Story by Michael Nicholson. Review, rating, trailer and photos.
Dillane and Nesbitt as Henderson and Gregg in Welcome to Sarajevo

"Welcome to Sarajevo" is a hard hitting film that holds no punches in its seriousness to portray the war in the former Yugoslavia.  Entwining real footage of the siege alongside scenes filmed in Sarajevo the movie has a sense of authenticity about it that is so important in a film of this magnitude.  Winterbottom is able to really portray the horror, death and desperation of the war and the Western's ignorance of the issue choosing to make the main news headline about the divorce between Princess Anne and Mark Phillips rather than the suffering and killing of innocent people in Sarajevo. 

The cast are brilliant in the film and are able to hold together the movie to make it sincere.  Dillane does very well in the lead role as Henderson and has a good on screen relationship with Nesbitt and Harrelson.  This helps the film as it means the the story can shine through which makes the film more like a real life documentary rather than a movie.  However, it seems to tell the story in a relatively short space of time leaving its affect to come up short compared to other films that highlight genocide like "Hotel Rwanda" (2004).  

Winterbottom's "Welcome to Sarajevo" is good film telling the happy-ending story of Michael Henderson. Along the way it challenges the role of the outside world on the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina which is important.  If it did not do this, it would not make people think about their actions or lack of during the siege and this is a great way film and cinema can be used - to provoke emotions and ask questions.  It is a good film that will keep you gripped throughout while portraying the terrible acts that were committed during the early 1990's.

M+F Rating: 7/10

Reviewed by M+F Reviews.