Author: movieauthor

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride Review

Sherlock and Watson find themselves in Victorian era in this holiday special as they try to solve an old mystery. It’s funny and flashy but is it as good as the 9 episodes of brilliant television that preceded it.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman pick up where they left off, as Sherlock and Watson respectively, with that great chemistry that we’ve become accustomed to and the back and forth banter. It’s also good to see the whole cast involved in one way or the other, reprising their roles in a different era.

The episode does well in tying in with the rest of the show and along with keeping the character interaction the same that’s probably its greatest achievement. The continuous references to people not being happy with Watson’s representation in his tales is as good as any of the multiple on-going jokes that are the closest thing to the Sherlock we are used. The gothic setting is fresh and exciting and there are some genuine jump scares, but the investigation at times comes close to being ScoobyDoo-like instead of Sherlock Holmes.

The mystery at hand isn’t really as mentally and physically tormenting as originally presented in the start of the episode in Watson’s narration, no matter how hard they tried to portray it as such. It doesn’t achieve that feeling of awesomeness that a fan of the show would expect, it’s only in the last 20-30 minutes that the flow returns to its best.

It was great to see our favourite high-functioning sociopath back in action in a different era whilst stills holding links to the overall story and not being just a standalone, unrelated episode. Nonetheless it doesn’t live up to high expectations.

7.5/10

Concussion Review

The movie follows a pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, portrayed by Will Smith, who investigates the deaths of former professional football players, trying to find the cause of death and any connection that it might have to suffering repeated concussions.

Will Smith reminds everyone why he is considered one of the best in the business, he does exceptionally well, without having a particularly good script. Everything good in the movie involves him, giving a great performance full of charisma. Albert Brooks gives this movie another breathing line, however only for a limited amount of time. Lastly Alec Baldwin does a solid job, but as usual he is cast in yet another generic role.

Peter Landesman decides halfway through, to stray away from telling the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu and focuses on the bigger picture. That could have been a good thing, however in this case it ends up hurting the development of the main character, which by the end of the film feels unfinished, and with Will Smith being the great actor that he is, that was a very bad call.

It’s not something that we haven’t seen before, one man, disliked by his peers, takes on “the world”, we’ve experienced that many times. That being the case, the film doesn’t do enough to get us invested in the people that it introduces. It doesn’t spend the time that would allow the viewer to believe they are real human beings and not actors, enable us to empathise with them and feel their pain and terror. In what is supposed to be dramatic movie, that is its biggest downfall.

6.5/10

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

The Force Awakens picks up 30 years after the Return of the Jedi and without giving away too much, it’s about an awakening in the force. Probably the most hyped and anticipated movie in movie history, does it live up to fans’ expectations?

The film is a real treat, in terms of entertainment value for fans and new viewers alike. With non-stop action, suspenseful confrontations and stunning sound and visual effects, the star wars universe has never looked more real.

There are 4 new main Characters introduced and they are awesome, portrayed by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver. They all did a great job as actors but the awesomeness of their characters shouldn’t be underestimated. Moreover the first glance that we get of the old gang and especially Han Solo, is perfect, for a moment it feels like the force is flowing through you. Nonetheless the focal point is not on the old characters any more, the focus is on the newcomers and rightly so.

The only major downside of the film, is the plot and considering Lawrence Kasdan (co-wrote Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi) was involved, I had far greater expectations. It doesn’t develop as fast as we are used to and at times it felt like we were going around in circles. The only real development that is achieved story wise, happens through the evolution of the characters, which is also the movie’s strongest suit.

John Williams’s music is always on point, including some of the classic tunes but also merging old and new to create that captivating aura that he always does. However one thing that his music score doesn’t provide, is that standout tune that Duel of the Fates was to the Phantom Menace or Imperial March was to The Empire Strikes Back.

J.J. Abrams who did such a great job with the Star Trek reboot, took an even greater challenge with this long awaited Star Wars sequel. The Force Awakens doesn’t re-imagine the Star Wars universe like Star Trek (2009) did; it tries to stay close to the original trilogy and it definitely achieves the same feeling.  However the story doesn’t offer something we haven’t seen before and is played a bit too safe.

Amazing to watch a new Star Wars movie but is it a masterpiece? Not by any stretch, nevertheless it’s a good solid film and a good way to start a new exciting trilogy set in our favourite universe.

Overall: 7.5/10

Entertainment Value: 9.0/10

P.S. It seemed that with a 7.5/10 I was selling the movie short, so I added the Entertainment Value to give a clearer picture.

Bridge of Spies Review

Bridge of Spies is about an American lawyer trying to defend a soviet spy during the Cold War, and the outcome that his actions have not only for him and his family…

Tom Hanks is superb in the movie, he makes it looks so effortless, it’s easy for the viewer to buy into the character, to empathise, and to feel like him. He achieves that covetable connection with the audience that very few actors are capable of.  The supporting cast is excellent as well and especially Mark Rylance, who along with Tom Hanks, in scenes they appear together, give you the chills with their exceptional delivery of well written, powerful dialogue.

Bridge of Spies tells a great story, with a great script, written by the Coen brothers and Matt Charman, and inspired directing by Spielberg. Although, a bit slow off the mark, it’s an intense and emotional ride. There are some truly shaking moments in the movie that say a lot about the time they are taking place in but also some heart-warming scenes that take your breath away.  No matter how you slice it the fact that it is based on true events makes it even more absorbing to watch.

“Bridge of Spies” is one of the best titled movies you are ever going to see.  Three words that say as much about the movie as any spoiler-filled trailer out there.  It’s a brilliant movie; a Steven Spielberg classic for the ages.

Once again a collaboration between Spielberg and Hanks leads to a fantastic film. 

8.5/10

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

The title certainly hints at what the movie is about but to expand that a bit, it’s about Greg, a high school senior student, who doesn’t really socially interact with other people, except with his “co-worker” Earl.  Circumstances have it so, that he comes to meet a girl who might or might not be dying as you already figured out.

The script is excellent, it has everything in it and it all comes from the incredible dialogue and great narration, which is executed perfectly from our main guy Greg, portrayed by Thomas Mann.  It can be funny, sad, touching, and tense within one scene, emotions are so interchanging that you cannot settle for one moment.  All the clichés are brushed aside allowing a new narrative that we haven’t experienced previously, unravel before our eyes.

A mention needs to be given to Jesse Andrews who wrote both the novel and the impeccable screenplay for the movie and of course the director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who brought the story and characters envisioned by Andrews, on film and did that exceptionally well.

The plot is unusual and the whole movie is made even more so by non-conventional filming, with shots from all different and irregular angles.  Where you would expect a close-up we get some odd-wide angles; the camera never sits still, it keeps moving all the time and it just helps intensify that feeling of perspective that the movie is all about.

One of the best movies of the year and a must watch for everyone.  It’s probably in contention for best adapted screenplay.  Film-making at its very best.

8.5/10

The Gift Review

The Gift is a movie about a young married couple that moves to California for a new start and run into an old acquaintance, who supposedly went to school with the husband.  He is peculiar to say the least.  Joel Edgerton wrote, directed and stars in the movie along with Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall.  Despite the great cast, and the solid performances all three delivered, the real star of the movie is the writing and directing by Edgerton in what is his directorial debut.

He wrote an incredible script, which creates an absorbing narrative and is paced to perfection.  The three main characters are very carefully and cleverly explored throughout the movie.  We keep learning more and more about them with each passing minute as more and more information comes to light, and it’s not until the final few scenes that the viewer can truly understand them and know more than just what they seem on first look.

Edgerton describes his movie as a “suburban horror story with no blood”, and although there are a few jump scares and a sense of terror is built as the story unfolds, it is more of a thriller and a good one at that, with great cinematography, music and sounds that enhance the suspense and can give you the creeps.

Not only is this a piece of high quality entertainment, it’s also a good study of real life situations whilst also delivering a strong message. There is great depth to the movie and Joel Edgerton gets the most out of his script with some impressive directing.

8/10

Spectre Review

Spectre is your regular James Bond movie; 007 is on a mission-leaves a mess behind, gets told off and we are off. The intro is great, accompanied by Sam Smith’s amazing “Writing’s on the Wall” (still not as good as the Skyfall intro but that was perfect), nothing less than what you would expect.

The directing is of top quality, Sam Mendes doesn’t have the best of scripts to work with, but he makes do with the tools he has at his disposal. With a great trademark car chase, great angles in hand to hand combat scenes, and some really great action sequences throughout that are masterfully shot. Except for the inclusion of the odd, tedious shaky camera effect, Mendes did an excellent job.

Daniel Craig is by now one of my favorite Bonds, if not my favorite. It’s the way he carries himself as James Bond, he embodies everything the characters should be about. He possesses the suave that the character is known for but he also adds the emotional side to it and not only when it comes to women. Whilst on the actor front, it’s worth mentioning that Christoph Waltz doesn’t disappoint, however, unfortunately, his screen time is limited.

The plot doesn’t particularly hold up to the Skyfall or Casino Royale standards. It doesn’t contain any major twists or unexpected outcomes, it’s very straightforward. It’s a bit of a classic James Bond movie in that regard, filled with over the top and impossible acts, cheesy and unrealistic conversations that are in place just to fit the plot and move it forward.

It might not be an Oscar contender for best picture, but it’s entertaining, intense and has everything you expect from a James Bond movie.

7/10

Black Mass Review

Black Mass is a movie that tells the story of James “Whitey” Bulger, one of the most violent criminals in South Boston during the 1970s and 80s and his involvement with the FBI.   It delves deep into his actions and criminal activities utilizing a great cast that carries out the task of bringing Bulger and those surrounding him to life on the big screen.

Johnny Depp is great as one would expect, with another trademark physical and mental transformation that turns him into Bulger and embodies his crazy and unstable personality.  Nevertheless it was Joel Edgerton who caught my eye with his performance as John Connolly and it might not have been as over the top as Depp’s but it was subtle and it was incredible.  One would assume they both have a good chance at an Oscar nod this year.

It really is a great depiction of the story, by the director Scott Cooper, he doesn’t depend on action scenes or suspense to get the attention of the audience, he chooses to rely on “Whitey” as the focal point of the movie and compel the viewer with the ruthlessness and unforgiving nature of the terrifying criminal that Bulger was (Johnny Depp can portray anyone with the charisma he possesses and Cooper takes full advantage of that).  Everybody was fearful of him, even his accomplices and that really becomes obvious throughout the film.

An Intriguing and gripping movie with very good performances.

8/10

Crimson Peak Review

Crimson Peak is a movie about Edith Cushing, a young woman, aspiring author that believes in the existence of ghosts and with a good reason.  I guess that’s all I can say without giving out more than the first few minutes in the film do.

Mia Wasikowska portrays Edith and she captures her carefree spirit with a great performance.  Moreover in the two supporting roles of Lucille and Thomas Sharpe, are Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston respectively, who excel with superb performances.  All three characters are very different and the dynamic between them is incredible at times, very much intensified by the amazing acting by all three actors and mostly Chastain.

At the core of any Guillermo Del Toro movie, there is a great story accompanied by amazing production design, costumes, and Crimson Peak is no different.   Everything is just so incredible to look at, it just adds so much to the authenticity of the setting, making it feel as real as possible.

The plot unfolds a bit slowly at the beginning.  It takes a long time to get to the real deal and even though we know something bad will happen just from the opening scene, half of the movie is building to that moment.  From one point of view, that’s a good thing because we get to explore and understand the characters and their actions better, but on the other hand, when we reach that final act and all hell breaks loose, it’s so intense and suspenseful that you just wished there was more of that.  I guess making the viewer wait makes it even better in the end.

A creepy gothic romance, that doesn’t care about jump scares and silly horror tricks, there just isn’t time for any nonsense in this story driver film. 

7.5/10