Film Reviews for 2017 so far

La La Land
Rating: 5/10

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I still feel that La La Land is way too overrated. The plot and characters were interesting however I could not stop myself from becoming annoyed at the fact that the film’s message is about how fake and celebrity-driven the entertainment industry and Hollywood is, and yet use two of the biggest actors in Hollywood to sell their film, giving them time and money to train in music and dance rather than use two actors who could actually sing and dance.

Mia, the main character is shown in multiple auditions where all of the other actresses auditioning look exactly like her and the casting directors only see two minutes of her performance, and yet the film doesn’t seem to care about all of the real actors trying to make it in Hollywood – no, we’ll just hire Ryan Gosling because the girls love him.

Plus, for me, I felt Emma Stone really took away from the plot because she is so well-known in other parts. She is not an amazing singer and I would have enjoyed the film a lot more if the actors were less known or famous because then it would actually feel real.

The majority of the musical numbers were easily forgettable and I understand that the writer was trying to present the “What If?” question that everyone asks themselves, but it just didn’t work for me. In my opinion, it felt like we were watching Mia and Seb have this huge character arc on following their dreams, being happy and being together, to then watch them go separate ways in the name of their career and then dream of what life would have been like together. The film basically says that anyone would choose fame, money and success over love and happiness, which is just a bad message for any story. It may be a realistic message, but the surrealistic and dream-like scenes throughout the film then makes this ironic.

Hacksaw Ridge
Rating: 9/10

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From my least favourite movie this year, to my favourite; I have been recommending Hacksaw Ridge to everyone I know. The story is so compelling, dramatic, intense, and impactful that I came out of that cinema wondering what life was. Andrew Garfield’s character is so full of goodness and represents naivety and innocence and holiness that I think we all wish we had.

Although Desmond, the protagonist, is a devout religious man, I didn’t feel that the idea of God was forced on the audience and you would enjoy this movie with any set of belief systems. Despite Desmond praying and speaking to God, and it’s obvious all of his actions are motivated by religion, we still feel more connected to the character himself because of his passion and determination to be good which I think is strong in everyone, regardless of what belief you have.

The action scenes and war imagery are so intense and it leaves you feeling thankful and lucky. Even though there is a lot of blood, guts, gore and violence, the film strives to keep the value and message based on love, as Desmond shows his unbiased, unselfish love for pretty much everyone, whether that be his wife, the fellow soldiers who beat him up part-way through the movie, his drunk father, his friends on the field, or even the opposing Japanese army.

He uses his skills as a medic to save and comfort people, no matter who they are, and acts as a glimmer of light and hope for everyone in the awful war. It’s a beautifully directed movie and Andrew Garfield is perfect. His character represents so much more than a glimmer of light, but also, for me, showed that you can be whoever you want to be and do good things in life, despite the general consensus. Desmond decides to go against killing and violence at a time when everyone around him were doing it, and he trusts in his own heart and his religion that he is doing the right thing which is so beautiful and tear-jerking to watch.

Rating: 8.5/10

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I also thought Logan was pretty amazing and such a brave risk for the film makers, even for a Wolverine film, as it was so different from any other X-Men movie. The main three characters, Logan, Charles Xavier and Laura make up this sweet and beautiful family which really makes us care about them.

The story is set in the future, in an almost post-apocalyptic world, adding to the seriousness and severity of the threat against our main characters. Any other X-Men movie would not be this intense or feel as if the characters were in this much danger, but because our characters are completely alone and do not have any back-up, with all of their allies being dead, it feels very dangerous.

The action is so good. Despite Logan being sick and weak throughout the film, the fight scenes are intricate, detailed and not repetitive at all. Dafne Keen is so brilliant – her character of Laura is dangerous, violent, threatening, as well as being mysterious, passionate, and funny. The idea of this 11-year-old girl killing multiple grown men all at once does not seem far-fetched or silly when you watch this actress’s performance and see how the director has shot the fights. Laura isn’t just mindlessly violent but also clever and has understanding motivations that come from the heart and the character’s background.

The film is very heart-warming and the biggest message is family. Probably my favourite line in this movie is when Logan says to Laura “Don’t be what they made you”, referring to the corrupt organisation that made Laura as a weapon. The ending of this movie had me in tears and I could not imagine a better send off for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Kong: Skull Island
Rating: – 6.5/10

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As someone who studied the King Kong movies in school, I feel this movie was as expected. It didn’t blow me away but I think it did justice to the King Kong stories and I am really excited to see how this film fits into the Godzilla Vs. Kong franchise.

Although it is based around the same mythical island and mythical giant gorilla tale, it does have a completely different plot and one of the things I found the most different about this movie from other Kong movies was the scale of everything. This might just be because it is the most modern of these movies which therefore means the director was able to make the sets, the visual effects and the concept larger. However, I think another reason for this was to reflect the 2014 Godzilla movie, (which I loved by the way).

For anyone who hasn’t seen it, Godzilla follows the story of a few different giant monsters and the destruction they leave behind them, leaving the human characters feeling extremely small and helpless. Kong: Skull Island complements this incredibly as, not just Kong, but all of the strange creatures on this island are massive on a scale that these characters can’t even comprehend. At one point, the characters find themselves wondering underneath of a giant bug. Even though the majority of these creatures are harmless and are not trying to cause destruction and death, the scale of them is enough for the audience and the characters to feel vulnerable and out-numbered. The large scale of the creatures and sets really keeps you on edge throughout.

The star of the show for me had to be Tom Hiddleston, who I had never really rated highly until I watched this movie. I didn’t ever feel that Hiddleston could play the type of character he’s portraying here but he totally nails it and I was pleasantly surprised. His character of James feels completely ahead of his time due to his mysterious nature and intelligence. I also thought Samuel L Jackson showed a great performance and in-depth character and I liked how the plot and action progressed. The only negative for me was the plot being overshadowed by the constant action and violent deaths. At face value, this film is just like any other action movie with its fair share of gore, death, guns and bombs.

Beauty and the Beast
Rating: 9.5/10

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The wait is over! I was so excited to see this film and it did not disappoint me. What I liked most about this movie was that they added more background to the famous characters which gave the plot more juice. Making a live action of a classic and widely-popular, widely-loved Disney film, means that it’s difficult to prevent the story from feeling boring or repetitive. However, the film makers kept the integrity of the original story and added in more depth and even explained a few things that were left out of the original.

It was very emotional for me, especially the ending battle, and the enchanted talking objects made it very difficult not to care about them. I pretty much cried for the entire last half hour. I think the casting was almost perfect. I did feel that Emma Watson seemed too young to be with the Beast however I thought her singing was beautiful. It’s plainly obvious that Emma Watson was cast because of her existing global fame, however I felt that the rest of the actors suited their characters amazingly.

Gaston and LeFou were incredibly funny and vile at the same time, the castle’s enchanted servants were heart-warming, Maurice, Belle’s father was quirky and caring, and the Beast himself was made into such an in-depth character which led to a better understanding of his actions and more sympathy. I really enjoyed the opening scene which showed the Beast becoming cursed as it gave more to the story.

The musical numbers were a whole lot better than La La Land’s and were memorable. I loved the Beast’s solo he sings in his castle; it was so emotional and I think that was the turning point for the character who develops and becomes selfless and kind, and the turning point for the audience as well on their opinion of the Beast. The settings and visuals were also on point throughout and I was very pleased with how they pulled it off.

Power Rangers
Rating: 7/10

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I was maybe a little bit too excited to watch this movie. I loved Power Rangers when I was younger – It’s such a global franchise that has reached so many people for so long, and I think this film does that justice. I was slightly worried that it would be cheesy, unrealistic and childish but I didn’t feel this was such a big deal. The reason for this is because the story focuses on, above anything else, the five teenagers who are thrown into being super heroes, when they don’t even know each other and are still making mistakes and finding themselves. This overshadows everything else, so even though the scenes and story may seem unrealistic or silly at times, the audience remains invested and interested because of the characters who drive the plot and the emotions.

We discover a lot about the five rangers in a short amount of time and they, and the development of their friendship, becomes the centre of the plot. Aside from the large scale battles, visual effects, saving-the-world aspect, the story follows the character’s journey towards adulthood and coming of age. This was the highlight for me because these five kids are the only thing that we, as an audience, can relate to because we’ve all had to grow up and find our identity through teenage struggles and issues, and so everything else like the super powers and saving the world becomes just an added extra that doesn’t need as much attention.

Leading on from the characters, the actors are so good in this movie. I also didn’t realise that the film used the same character names and personalities from the original series, and I liked that. However, I really didn’t like the Alpha 5 ship robot and found him annoying and irrelevant. The character of Zordon was obviously necessary to lead the plot and the characters, but the visuals for him were pretty terrible.

The physical ranger suits were gorgeous and I did find the jokes funny at times, although I can see why people would find them cheesy. I felt that this film worked incredibly well on it’s own and yet still established a universe for a potential film franchise. It looks as though a sequel is confirmed and I cannot wait to see how they are going to introduce a green ranger into the group. It would definitely create some sparks as the gang took a whole movie to bond with, feel comfortable and open up to each other.

Thanks for Reading!

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