Tag Archives: Ewen Bremner

Wonder Woman (2017) Retrospective Review

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Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] violence
Cast:
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor
Danny Huston as General Erich Ludendorff
David Thewlis as Sir Patrick Morgan/Ares
Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta
Elena Anaya as Doctor Isabel Maru/Doctor Poison
Lucy Davis as Etta Candy
Saïd Taghmaoui as Sameer
Ewen Bremner as Charlie
Eugene Brave Rock as Chief
Director: Patty Jenkins

Princess Diana (Gal Gadot) of an all-female Amazonian race rescues US pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Upon learning of a war, she ventures into the world of men to stop Ares, the god of war, from destroying mankind.

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With Wonder Woman 1984 not too far away, I decided to check out the first Wonder Woman movie from the DCEU again. From my first viewing to my third viewing, my opinion on the movie jumped from considering it one of the best comic book movies, to just really liking it. So I needed to know for sure, and from watching it again, I think it’s still good.

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With this review, I get the freedom to talk more about spoilers freely, though there isn’t a huge amount to spoil. The plot isn’t unpredictable, and is pretty typical of that when it comes to origin stories or other fantasy stories that are similar. However, it is the first time we are seeing Wonder Woman in live action, and looking at it like that, it’s very well handled. I will admit that on repeat viewings when you know what’s happening, the pacing does feel a bit slow honestly, that’s what I felt the second and third times I watched it. Maybe it’s because 3 years since I last watched it, but I enjoyed it a little more this time, though it still has that problem. Wonder Woman does the whole fish out of water thing once Diana leaves Themyscira, which has been done many times, but the movie does make it entertaining to watch. The setting with World War 1 was fitting for this story, as well as refreshing as opposed to the commonly used World War 2. I do have some issues with the third act with the movie, and unlike most people, it’s to do with the story than the visuals or action. Much of the movie is Diana hunting down Ares, believing that he alone is the reason for everything bad that mankind is doing, particularly with the war. After killing Ludendorff (who she believes is Ares), she discovers that it doesn’t change anything, and that it seemed to be mankind doing it themselves. It is quite an effective moment and I liked the subversion. However later the real Ares shows himself and there’s a big battle between the two. I do like how he plants ideas for war rather than directly being the ones who starts the war. However, after the death of Ares, there’s a moment where everyone just stops fighting (including the German soldiers) and it just seemed to contradict the message and almost seemed to imply that it was Ares after all who caused it. Over time I have grown warmer on it, and took it as everyone reacting after watching literal gods battle to the death on such a large scale, though I guess they could’ve handled that aspect a little better. The strongest scene and probably most iconic scene is that of the No Man’s Land scene around halfway into the movie, on both a directing level and a story level, as well as a moment for Wonder Woman.

Gal Gadot straight up is Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, she embodies the character perfectly, and I like the arc she goes on throughout the story. Chris Pine is just as good as Steve Trevor, honestly Pine probably made this role even better. Gadot and Pine are among the best on screen pairing I’ve seen in any comic book movie, and they share great chemistry. Those two had by far the strongest characters. The rest of the characters range from average to decent, but were all performed well. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright are really good as Diana’s mother and aunt respectively in the first act. The group of people that Diana and Steve team up with are okay but forgettable. Danny Huston and Elena Anaya made for some over the top yet entertaining villains. They aren’t great but they work alright for the story. David Thewlis is the secret villain Ares, who at first appears to be an ally. He really does play the scene well in which he reveals himself to Diana to be the God of War. With that said, he does get quite silly in the actual battle with over the top lines, though he’s still fun to watch.

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Patty Jenkins directs this movie very well. The action is quite good and feels very smooth, particularly with the stunts. It particularly portrays Wonder Woman’s power and abilities really well. If I could find a flaw in the action scenes, some of the slow-motion isn’t used as greatly as it could’ve, making it feel a little awkward at many points. So many people complain about the third act, especially with the use of the CGI. There are parts where it does get messy but I thought it was pretty enjoyable nonetheless. The score from Rupert Gregson-Williams was also great and elevates many of the scenes, especially with the action scenes.

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Wonder Woman is a solid comic book movie, and a really good Wonder Woman origin movie for audiences. It’s well directed, and the cast were really good, especially Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. There are some issues I have with it, and it doesn’t rank among my favourite comic book movies (or even favourite DC movies), but on the whole I still think it’s really good.

Snowpiercer (2014) Review

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Snowpiercer

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Evans as Curtis Everett
Song Kang-ho as Namgoong Minsoo
Ed Harris as Wilford
John Hurt as Gilliam
Tilda Swinton as Minister Mason
Jamie Bell as Edgar
Octavia Spencer as Tanya
Ewen Bremner as Andrew
Go Ah-sung as Yona
Director: Bong Joon-ho

Set in 2031, the entire world is frozen except for those abroad the Snowpiercer. For seventeen years, the world’s survivors are on a train hurtling around the globe creating their own economy and class system. Led by Curtis (Chris Evans), a group of lower-class citizens living in squalor at the back of the train are determined to get to the front of the train and spread the wealth around. Each section of the train holds new surprises for the group who have to battle their way through. A revolution is underway.

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Snowpiercer was the first movie from Bong Joon-ho that I saw, which was quite a while ago. Having watched all his other movies, it made me want to go back to this one, and it’s even better on a second viewing. The release of Snowpiercer wasn’t as large as it should’ve been, which is a shame, because had it been given a proper release it would’ve been a massive hit among everyone sooner. It’s a fantastic film that is worth seeing.

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Snowpiercer is a very thematic movie about class, and there are a lot of parallels throughout. A lot of it isn’t particularly subtle but this doesn’t bother me at all however, movies being blatant with its themes aren’t inherently bad, and Snowpiercer does go deeper than just leaving it at “rich people bad, poor people good”. At around 2 hours long, the movie held my attention quite well. It’s much more focussed on the story, ideas, characters and themes over the spectacle and visuals (even those are impressive too). At first it’s a straightforward story, a group of people at the back end of the train want to get to the front of the train, and it doesn’t get much more complicated than that. However, there’s more going on, and the latter half of the movie sort of abandons the action movie energy from the first half for something much more intellectual and ambiguous, and I liked that too. Snowpiercer also feels very fresh, creative and original, and you can’t really compare it to any other sci-fi film, even though it’s not an entirely original film as it was based off a graphic novel (which I don’t think was that well known). The ending, as in the very last scene of the movie, was fine enough but I felt like it was missing something.

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This had a large cast, and all of them perform greatly, but there were three performances that stood out most. Chris Evans gives probably the best performance of his career in the lead role, as a much darker and conflicted character compared to most of the others that he plays, I’d like to see him more in roles like this. Song Kang-ho is here in his 3rd collaboration with Bong Joon-ho, and as usual delivers a solid performance. Tilda Swinton is the other standout as another transformative and unrecognisable character, and shined in her screentime in a over the top and gloriously hammy performance. The rest of the supporting cast with Go Ah-sung, Jamie Bell, Ewen Bremner, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer and Ed Harris also delivered some solid performances on their parts.

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We all know that Bong Joon-ho is a great director but he’s particularly great here, and his transition to movies in English was impressive. Taking away the fact that this movie is mostly in English, this doesn’t feel like an American blockbuster, especially when it comes to the action. It’s brutal, stylised, and was all around great and satisfying. It’s also visually stunning, the visual effects and cinematography were outstanding, and the attention to detail with the production and costume designs were top notch.

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Snowpiercer is one of my favourite movies from Bong Joon-ho, and he’s made some fantastic films. His direction was reliably exceptional and was key to making it work as well as it did. Add on top of that the work of the cast and a story and world I was engaged with throughout, and you have an outstanding sci-fi movie. Definitely watch it if you haven’t already.

T2: Trainspotting (2017) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language, drug use, sex scenes & content that may disturb.
Cast
Ewan McGregor as Mark “Rent Boy” Renton
Ewen Bremner as Daniel “Spud” Murphy
Jonny Lee Miller as Simon “Sick Boy” Williamson
Robert Carlyle as Francis “Franco” Begbie
Kevin McKidd as Tommy MacKenzie
Kyle Fitzpatrick as Fergus
Elek Kish as Dozo
Bradley Welsh as Mr Doyle
Kelly Macdonald as Diane Coulston
Anjela Nedyalkova as Veronika Kovach
Director: Danny Boyle

First there was an opportunity, then there was a betrayal. Twenty years later, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the only place that he can ever call home. There waiting for him are old buddies Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, love, fear, regret, self-destruction and mortal danger are also all lined up and ready to welcome him.

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I only recently saw the original Trainspotting, it was definitely a unique movie, especially with its style and direction. 21 years later, director Danny Boyle and the cast from the original returned to deliver a sequel with these returning characters. A lot of sequels decades in the making don’t live up to the hype, it didn’t seem necessary to create a sequel, Trainspotting of all films definitely didn’t need a sequel. However, T2: Trainspotting was really pulled off well and now I’m glad they actually decided to go ahead with a sequel. Everyone returns to deliver a worthy sequel that is at the very least at the level of the original.

The issue that this film could face is that it could end up being a total departure or just a repeat and rehash of the original. Fortunately that’s not what happened here, it is new enough while still feeling like a Trainspotting movie. It really does feel like a continuation of the Trainspotting story, it definitely helped that John Dodge, the writer of the original film wrote the sequel as well. The film deals with addiction and other themes in a different way than the original. It doesn’t focus as much as drugs as the original, the issues that these characters are going through are more existential and a lot different. It handles everything overall in a more darker and mature way. You won’t see sequences that are absolutely bonkers like the toilet scene in the original. However, it is still full of that crazy energy from the original, just used in a different way. It is also very funny but its also very emotional too, it really balances everything out all things considering. I don’t really have many issues with the film to be honest.

The characters from the original film, Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie return, with Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle reprising their respective roles. They feel just like their characters, just 20 years older and they continue to share incredible chemistry. Most of the characters haven’t changed, Renton is the only one who has made a significant change since the end of the original film. We do also get to see more insight into their characters and their lives, the treatment of the characters was quite good. As I said previously, everyone is great here, but if there was a standout I’d say it is Spud, who has a surprisingly emotional story in T2. A new character is Anjela Nedyalkova as Veronika, Sick Boy’s girlfriend. She does a really great job in her scenes, having great chemistry with Jonny Lee Miller and Ewen Bremner. She also does very well at standing out amongst the four main characters, she definitely needs to be in more movies.

Danny Boyle returns to direct the sequel and really he’s the only person who should’ve directed a Trainspotting sequel. Boyle was once again great, he’s clearly evolved with his filmmaking style. He has combined his new filmmaking style with the style that he used back in 1996 with the original Trainspotting. You don’t get crazy visuals like the original with sequences like the toilet and the baby and others, not necessarily a bad thing, in fact the visual style is great for the story. The style is perfect, with the camerawork, editing and the framing being excellently done. It still has an erratic feeling to it that fits perfectly. The soundtrack in the original Trainspotting was great and that’s the same for the sequel, it fitted the movie and scenes so incredibly well.

The sequel to Trainspotting was the best it possibly could’ve been with its great script, the returning cast and Danny Boyle’s excellent direction. While they are at similar levels of quality, I personally liked Trainspotting 2 slightly more than the original. The best thing I can say is that it’s a perfect continuation of the story. If you liked the original film, I recommend at least checking out the sequel. Even if you might not consider it as good as the original, it’s still very close to be as good as the original. T2: Trainspotting was surprisingly great and one of my favourite films of the year.