Tag Archives: Aidan Gillen

Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021) Review

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Those Who Wish Me Dead

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, cruelty, offensive language & content that may disturb
Cast:
Angelina Jolie as Hannah
Finn Little as Connor
Nicholas Hoult as Patrick
Aidan Gillen as Jack
Jon Bernthal as Ethan
Medina Senghore as Allison
Jake Weber as Owen
Tyler Perry as Arthur
Director: Taylor Sheridan

Still reeling from the loss of three lives, Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is a smoke jumper who’s perched in a watchtower high above the Montana wilderness. She soon encounters Connor (Finn Little), a skittish boy who’s bloodied, traumatized and on the run in the remote forest. As Hannah tries to bring him to safety, she’s unaware of the real dangers to follow: two relentless killers hunting Connor, and a fiery blaze consuming everything in its path.

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Those Who Wish Me Dead was one of my most anticipated movies of 2021. Not only did it have a great cast with Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen and Jon Bernthal, but it was coming from Taylor Sheridan, who’s last directing work was a great crime thriller called Wind River. So I was excited based off the premise and the talent involved. I will say it wasn’t quite like I hoped it would be but I still liked it.

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I went into the movie as someone who liked Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River, so to those who like me were expecting something like that, Those Who Wish Me Dead is nothing like that. Not only did I find that it definitely doesn’t live up to his stronger works, but as I discovered within the first 10 minutes, it is more of a 90s throwback thriller. The plot itself is rather predictable but I was interested enough to watch throughout. However I will note that for whatever reason, I was more interested in the supporting characters than the stories of the two leads, and I don’t think that was supposed to be the case. There is some characterisation, especially with the two main leads, however for the most part it doesn’t really delve into the characters much. I also do like how it is unflinching with the relentlessness and brutality of the violence, quite familiar to some of Sheridan’s other works like Sicario and Wind River. By the end of the movie, you do notice that there are a lot of questions that are unanswered, and some aspects that aren’t explained the best. For example, the motivations of the hitmen chasing the main characters are murky at best, Tyler Perry appears in one scene as the person who hire the killers and that’s it. It would’ve benefited from being a bit longer, using that time to develop more of the characters and story, especially when you consider that the runtime is only 100 minutes long. The pacing is a bit iffy, not the strongest especially in the first act where it seems to be taking a while to get to the main event at the center of the plot. Not to mention that the first two acts spend time building to the 10 minute climax.

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The cast are great, and they deliver good performances on their parts. Angelina Jolie is headlining the movie as the lead, as she indeed plays the lead character. Despite this, she doesn’t really get the screentime necessary to give her the depth that is needed. She does have a tragic backstory as a smokejumper with a trauma and we do see how this affects her, which makes her the only major character in this movie with an actual backstory. Even then, it still feels like her character needed more development. Nonetheless Jolie does play the role very well. Finn Little plays the child that Angelina Jolie is protecting over the course of the movie, and he actually does quite a good job in the role despite feeling like a plot device. The chemistry and dynamic between Little and Jolie is believable and works well enough. With that said, these two seemed to be sidelined, and aren’t given the proper development that they need. As I said earlier, the supporting players actually end up being more impressive than the leads. First of all are the two hitmen played by Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult. Their relentless nature to carry out this goal makes them unpredictable, and that unpredictability is definitely needed in this rather generic and familiar plot. Despite being stone cold killers and straightforward villains, they are pretty human as shown through the dialogue and solid performances, and I kind of wanted more screentime with them. There’s also Jon Bernthal and Medina Senghore as the local sheriff and his pregnant wife, who are meant to be background characters but actually stand out. Bernthal does get a good amount of screentime compared to some of his other supporting roles (i.e. less than 10 minutes), and Senghore is something of a scenestealer. Tyler Perry is good in his one scene however his appearance is so brief that you could almost miss him.

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Taylor Sheridan’s direction wasn’t quite as impressive as his work on Wind River, but on a technical level it is still solid. The cinematography is gorgeous, with much of the film being shot against a stunning landscape. When a particular forest fire becomes present in the movie and affects the characters, it almost becomes a presence in itself, elevating the tension as the sight of fire just spreading through the trees being quite intimidating. The action is well put together and flows well, and as said earlier is brutal and unflinching. Brian Tyler’s score does a lot to elevate the intensity too, and fits perfectly with the rest of the movie.

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Those Who Wish Me Dead was a bit of a disappointment to me, as someone who liked a lot of Taylor Sheridan’s past work (especially Wind River) and the cast involved. However I still enjoyed it. As a 90s action thriller throwback (albeit without the cheesy tone), it was entertaining enough, the cast were good in their parts, and it was directed reasonably well. If you’re interested in an okay thriller with great actors, then give it a watch but it’s not one that you’ll need to catch as soon as possible.

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Review

Time: 134 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language, sexual references & drug references
Cast:
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury/Farrokh Bulsara
Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin
Gwilym Lee as Brian May
Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor
Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon
Aidan Gillen as John Reid
Tom Hollander as Jim Beach
Allen Leech as Paul Prenter
Mike Myers as Ray Foster
Director: Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher

Bohemian Rhapsody is a movie based on the true story of the rock band Queen’s journey from the start of the group to their legendary performance at the Live Aid concert at the Wembley stadium. The movie revolves around the groups lead singer Freddie Mercury’s (Rami Malek) part of the story and his life from being an outcast immigrant in society to a world famous artist and his struggles trough the journey of it.

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I was mildly interested in Bohemian Rhapsody as a fan of Queen. I wasn’t sure about Bryan Singer directing (the main reason actually not being his directing skill) but the appeal of seeing Rami Malek play Freddie Mercury and really just the band on the big screen was just irresistible, so despite some mixed reception of the movie, I was holding out hope. I actually ended up liking Bohemian Rhapsody a lot more than I thought I would. It could’ve been better but I was entertained by it and Rami Malek was great as Freddie Mercury.

A large part of the criticisms are about the accuracies and portrayals and so I’ll just address that part first. As much as I like Queen, I’ll admit I don’t know a ton about them, so people who have much more knowledge about the band will probably pick up on some more inaccuracies than me. I did find there are some moments that did seem ‘movie-like’, like moments that probably never happened in real life and was just done for the movie as a wink to the audience. There isn’t a ton of those but they really do stick out when they happen. Also, there’s a bit where they come up with the song “We Will Rock You” and even I knew that they created it a number of years before when that scene takes place in the timeline. However one of the biggest ones I’ve heard after watching the movie was that Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis happens years later on than when the movie shows it. The main reason seems to be that the movie wanted to address the AIDS aspect but also wanted to end at the Live Aid, so they tried to rearrange events so that they could have both. With everything considered, I’m taking the accuracies somewhat loosely, most of it is probably accurate, but some of it isn’t. I know that originally there was going to be a Freddie Mercury film with Sacha Baron Cohen, which was going to be very much in depth with him and really go all the way, but while that sounds interesting, Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t that movie. This movie was more like a tribute and celebration of the band and Mercury, and in that it really works. Besides, just because we recently had a Freddie Mercury/Queen movie doesn’t mean that in the future we won’t get that sort of uncensored movie focusing on him/them.

Now for the actual movie. Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t delve too much into Queen (its mostly focussed on Mercury) but it does try to cover a lot of what happened with them from 1970 to 1984, and so in that it does cover a lot of things briefly. It does feel like they selected a few things that they wanted to cover and were like “Wouldn’t it be nice to see them come up with Another One Bites the Dust and show how it happened?”. With that said, I liked seeing how certain things came to be, even if only scratched the surface of Queen and is well known (because as I said, I don’t know too much about Queen, despite being a fan). However, I think that the film is strongest whenever it shows the different sides to Freddie Mercury. One thing that some biopics tend to fall into is that they sanitise everything about the people their based on, but they don’t really do that here. They show Freddie for the musical genius he is but they also show his shortcomings and flaws, as well as the conflicts and problems that he has. Bohemian Rhapsody was about 2 hours and 10 minutes long but it never felt too long, it always had my attention from start to finish and I was never bored.

Rami Malek is fantastic as Freddie Mercury. When someone is portraying such an iconic person, they can often just slip into doing an imitation but Malek never falls into that. He really just becomes Freddie Mercury on screen and over time you just forget that its Rami and just see Freddie. Obviously the singing isn’t actually Malek’s but they did a great job at making him look like he’s doing it. He has the same onstage and offstage energy, the voice, everything of Freddie Mercury, really great performance. The rest of the cast is good as well. The rest of Queen, Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor and Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon were great, the 4 of them were really convincing in their roles and played off each other well. Other actors like Aidan Gillen, Lucy Boynton, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech and even Mike Myers were good, and served their roles well.

Now this movie is actually directed by two people, Bryan Singer initially and then later he was replaced by Dexter Fletcher. I didn’t notice any differences in the direction but it is flashy and entertaining. When it comes to the band performances, it’s flashy and entertaining to watch but you can see that they are restraining things, cutting things a little short, you’re almost just seeing them in montages and all that. Part of it is really because the movie is building up to The Live Aid performance in the last act, and that payoff is really great to see. We get to see a few songs from the crowd and from the stage, that whole sequence is really one of the highlights of the movie. With all that, Bohemian Rhapsody is really best seeing in a theatre on a big screen and speakers. It really was an experience watching Queen perform the songs and hearing them.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a little by the numbers and nothing special when it comes to music biopics but I had a good time with it, I had fun with it. Even for what it was going for, it could’ve been better, its not quite the Queen biopic that we wanted but I still liked it and there are some good parts to it. At the very least its worth checking out for Rami Malek’s fantastic performance as Freddie Mercury.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) Review

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence and offensive language
Cast:
Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur
Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey as The Mage
Djimon Hounsou as Sir Bedivere
Aidan Gillen as Sir William “Goosefat Bill”
Jude Law as Vortigern
Eric Bana as Uther Pendragon
Director: Guy Ritchie

After the murder of his father, young Arthur’s power-hungry uncle Vortigern (Jude Law) seizes control of the crown. Robbed of his birthright, he grows up the hard way in the back alleys of the city, not knowing who he truly is. When fate leads him to pull the Excalibur sword from stone, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) embraces his true destiny to become a legendary fighter and leader.

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I wasn’t sure if I was looking forward to King Arthur. It has a great cast, and most importantly is directed by Guy Ritchie, a filmmaker I like quite a bit due to his unique and fast paced style. But nothing much about the movie really interested me from the trailers, it looked like an okay-ish fantasy movie. I know that a lot of people really didn’t like King Arthur (it’s the first box office bomb of 2017) but I was glad I decided to see it. The acting was good, the way the story was told was effective but Ritchie’s great direction really was the standout. It won’t be known as one of the all time greatest fantasy movies but it is still a good one.

Now this story is very familiar and very much like a typical fantasy story (minus the direction and interpretation by Ritchie), but it’s not the same King Arthur story that you’re used to seeing. Don’t go into it expecting the usual representations of King Arthur. I was just going in expecting a fantasy movie by Guy Ritchie with the main character titled Arthur and I was very entertained and invested throughout. This story is full on magic and fantasy, and it was entertaining to see how this movie approached it. This film does overall move at a pretty fast pace and it didn’t ever bore me. As Guy Ritchie wrote this movie, he does have a particular style and I really liked it. The dialogue was entertained and the humour was well implemented in the movie.

Charlie Hunnam is great here as Arthur, very likable, entertaining and believable. I haven’t seen him in much (just Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak) but this is his most entertaining performance yet. Definitely the strongest character in the whole movie. Jude Law plays and a very hateable villain and did a very good job at it, fully embracing his role. This movie has a wide range of talented actors with Djimon Hounsou, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen and many others. All of them are used pretty effectively and share great chemistry with each other, their characters weren’t quite as 3 dimensional as they could’ve been but they were still very enjoyable to watch. The only actors who were a little out of place were Katie McGrath (as she’s on screen for a total of only 1 minute) and a random cameo of David Beckham (I have no idea why he was here), especially as he appears in such a pivotal scene for Arthur.

As great the acting and story is, the stand out part of this movie is of course Guy Ritchie’s direction. This is the most Guy Ritchie that a Guy Ritchie film has been since Snatch. I was worried about how his style would be used here but I found it did work, its so unlike a King Arthur movie to have and Ritchie fully embraced that style and so I enjoyed it a lot. The fast paced editing is used really well. At times it does move a little too fast so it is easy to miss some of the details but that goes for most Guy Ritchie movies. If you don’t like his style, you probably won’t like King Arthur. I know some people really didn’t like that his style was used in a King Arthur movie, but I liked that, not just because I like the style, but it gave something new to a King Arthur story, it’s not just a typical fantasy story that we’ve seen so many times. At times it does sort of tonally feel inconsistent, one moment might be very comedic and have one of the Guy Ritchie montages, and in the next moment might be a fantasy action sequence or a very serious dramatic scene. Most of the CGI is used really effectively and made for some really entertaining action sequences. A standout is the soundtrack by Daniel Pemberton, it could be grand and epic but it could also fit perfectly with Ritchie’s wacky style and montages.

King Arthur is not a perfect movie but I do think that it’s worth a watch, nowhere near deserves the hate its getting or being a box office bomb. With the actors, the entertaining story but most of all, Guy Ritchie’s direction, I was consistently entertained by this movie. I honestly recommend going out and seeing King Arthur, give it a chance (as long as you know what you’re going in for). If you aren’t a big fan of Guy Ritchie’s style however, you probably won’t be a fan.

The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2015) Review

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Maze Runner; The Scorch Trials

Time: 132 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Dylan O’Brien as Thomas
Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt
Ki Hong Lee as Minho
Kaya Scodelario as Teresa Agnes
Rosa Salazar as Brenda
Jacob Lofland as Aris Jones
Giancarlo Esposito as Jorge
Aidan Gillen as Janson
Dexter Darden as Frypan
Alexander Flores as Winston
Barry Pepper as Vince
Lili Taylor as Mary Cooper
Patricia Clarkson as Ava Paige
Director: Wes Ball

In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

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I wasn’t very impressed with 2014’s Maze Runner, I thought it was quite predictable and I didn’t really care about what was going on, although it did have some good elements, such as the action and some of the performances were good. With Scorch Trials however, the Maze Runner franchise looks to be on the improvement. It still has its problems with its characterisation and character development, as well as having a lot of plot holes but I have to give credit to the people involved for creating an improved sequel.

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Like with the first Maze Runner I didn’t really follow the story that well but I could just go with it. There are still plenty of plot holes, most of them come from the previous film’s ending, that being I’m pretty sure that WCKD (not a very subtle villainous corporation name by the way) could test children more easily by testing them in smaller rooms and not build giant mazes that would be more time and money consuming. The characterization like in the first film wasn’t that strong, I didn’t feel like I knew any of the main characters, except for Thomas but even then you don’t really learn much about him. The movie also did feel a little long at 2 hours 15 minutes, there were a few moments in the final act that they could’ve ended the film and I think that would’ve worked better. And yes, this film does have the type of ‘there’s going to be another one’ ending, like the first film’s ending, however it’s not as bad here.

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Dylan O’Brien and the rest of the cast do a good job. I felt that I didn’t emphasise enough in my review of the first film that the cast did a good job, it’s just that the characters they played weren’t that interesting. I actually started to slightly care about the characters, which was a huge improvement over the original where I didn’t care at all what happened to them. I thought that Aidan Gillen and Giancarlo Esposito were great additions to the franchise (though that’s partially because Gillen is in Game of Thrones and Esposito is in Breaking Bad). I do genuinely think they did great jobs with what they had to work with and I’m looking forward to see them in the sequel.

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The film looked quite good and had some great cinematography, especially with its action scenes. The action scenes, like in the previous film was great and again are the best part of the movie. The zombies (I don’t remember what they are called in the movie) in the first half looked practical and real, and I thought they were quite effective. However in the second half, they swapped them for CGI, and I didn’t really understand why, it did sort of take me out of the movie.

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Although I wouldn’t call this film great, I will say that it was surprising and better than I thought it would be. This movie was definitely better than the first film, probably because it already had ‘established’ characters and the plot seemed to be moving forward faster. Maybe the next and final sequel might actually be great and even if it isn’t, it’s at the very least the first young adult franchise to not have a last instalment that’s broken into 2 parts, I’ll give Maze Runner credit for that.