Tag Archives: Hugh Grant

The Undoing (2020) TV Review

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The Undoing

Time:
336 Minutes
Cast:
Nicole Kidman as Grace Fraser
Hugh Grant as Jonathan Fraser
Édgar Ramírez as Detective Joe Mendoza
Noah Jupe as Henry Fraser
Lily Rabe as Sylvia Steinetz
Matilda De Angelis as Elena Alves
Ismael Cruz Córdova as Fernando Alves
Edan Alexander as Miguel Alves
Michael Devine as Detective Paul O’Rourke
Donald Sutherland as Franklin Reinhardt
Noma Dumezweni as Haley Fitzgerald
Director: Susanne Bier

A therapist’s (Nicole Kidman) life unravels after she learns that her husband (Hugh Grant) might be responsible for a widespread disaster.

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I heard about The Undoing for some time, that it’s an HBO mini-series in the murder mystery thriller genre that starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in the lead roles. I didn’t think much of it or have a particularly strong interest in it when it was released, but after it received some TV award show nominations, I thought I might as well check it out. Having watched all the episodes, I’d say overall that it’s decent, but not nearly as good as it could’ve been.

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David E. Kelley, who previously created and wrote Big Little Lies, is the writer and creator of The Undoing and you can definitely feel it. However, it’s not nearly as strong as that other show. The faults mostly lay in the writing, which is the weakest part of the show, though I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It’s decent enough and was enough for me to pay attention to what was happening. Some episodes played out on the slow side, particularly the first two, but I was never bored. This series doesn’t add anything new to the whodunit genre, nor does it do anything better, but it is alright for what it is. As to be expected in this kind of show, there are twists and turns, however I found most of them to be rather lacking in impact. There were maybe 2 twists that I didn’t expect, the rest didn’t really surprise me that much. The ending really sticks out at being very out of place. The last 10-15 minutes were tonally different and felt like they belonged in a completely different movie or show. Much of the story was already a bit far fetched, but it somehow manages to top that. It’s almost like they didn’t know how to really end the show, so they just threw in some random contrived and overblown climax which does nothing but leave the story on a very confused note.

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The Undoing is 6 episodes long and on one hand that sounds alright as that’s not too long (certainly made the idea of watching the show more appealing). At the same time, given how little ground they cover with the story and characters, it does feel like it could’ve just been one feature length film. With it being a 6 hour long mini series, I just expected more from it. The characters aren’t the most interesting or have the most depth, they felt rather thinly written. Another thing to note is what the mystery is building towards, mainly what happened with the murder at the centre of the show, as well as who the killer is. While I won’t spoil anything, the reveal was rather underwhelming. There were plenty of other more unexpected directions that they could’ve taken instead. With that said, even if they were to stick with the direction that they chose (possibly to be faithful to the book), they really could’ve added stuff to that to make it more interesting than it turned out to be. That also applies to the approach to the story, as a whodunnit it’s entertaining but not really surprising or unpredictable despite how hard they try. It’s a show build on red herrings, which isn’t necessarily bad, but the show doesn’t develop those well enough to have them leave an impact or keep you guessing. Potentially it could’ve had a more of a psychological approach, in fact the show is sometimes regarded as a psychological thriller. Although it starts off seemingly like a psychological thriller, by the time it reaches the halfway point that’s not what the show is. Alternatively, it could’ve leaned more into the campiness, as at times it felt like a pulpy thriller (though it unfortunately mostly seemed to be unintentional). That would’ve at least been more entertaining. Either of those approaches could’ve made the series more interesting or more entertaining, as a whodunit though, it’s just fine.

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Essentially, it’s the performances from the cast that carry this show. Nicole Kidman is in the lead role and she is really good. I do think that there are some problems with her character, it feels like there should be more to her character considering that the story is mostly told from her perspective. With that said, Nicole Kidman conveys the emotions necessary, and is quite good here. Hugh Grant is great as Kidman’s husband and a suspect in the murder at the centre of the story. Grant was his usual charming self at times, but also was a darker and more unlikable character compared to most of the role he’s known for playing. It’s the best performance I’ve seen from him, and he displays his immense range in this. Donald Sutherland is also great as Nicole Kidman’s father, he gets some moments to really shine. Noah Jupe also deserves some praise as the son of Kidman and Grant, really getting plenty of chances to stand out among the cast. Another performance worth praising is that of Noma Dumezweni as the defence lawyer for Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman, she was a standout in every single scene she was in.

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All 6 episodes are directed by Susanne Bier, and overall she did a good job with them. It’s good on a technical level, it is well shot and are mostly edited well. There are sometimes flashbacks from when characters imagine what happened, and I think the use of them were a little inconsistent and confusing, especially when it’s meant to be characters’ thinking about events which they haven’t seen themselves.

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The Undoing does enough to entertain for 6 episodes even if it’s not anything special in the genre. However, by the end it’s pretty evident it could be much better, mainly with the writing, and it’s a little underwhelming and disappointing in parts. With that said, it interests and entertains enough, it’s well made, and the performances are great and keep you on board. If you generally like these kinds of plots, then you’ll probably at least enjoy watching it.

The Gentlemen (2019) Review

Time: 113 minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language, drug use & sexual material
Cast:
Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson
Charlie Hunnam as Raymond
Henry Golding as Dry Eye
Michelle Dockery as Rosalind Pearson
Jeremy Strong as Matthew Berger
Eddie Marsan as Mike
Colin Farrell as Coach
Hugh Grant as Fletcher
Director: Guy Ritchie

Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is an American expatriate who became rich by building a marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he’s looking to cash out of the business, it soon triggers an array of plots and schemes from those who want his fortune.

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The Gentlemen was one of my most anticipated movies of 2020. Director Guy Ritchie hasn’t been doing so well with his recent movies. People have wanted him to return to the crime genre that made Ritchie known, with the likes of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RocknRolla, and with The Gentlemen we finally have that. Add on top of that a great cast, and there was a lot there I was looking forward to. I found myself to be really entertained by The Gentlemen, and it was a nice way of starting off the new decade for movies.

The Gentlemen feels like a movie that Guy Ritchie could’ve made back in the 2000s, for better and for worse. The characters and story aren’t necessarily interesting, but they’re nonetheless very well written and entertaining, in the same way that Snatch was really entertaining. There isn’t much action in the movie, in fact the dialogue really is the action. It’s sharp, memorable, and really funny, and I’m a fan of well done dark humour, so this really worked for me. This movie is very much not politically correct to say the least, and I know that a lot of people won’t like some of the jokes (and it’s understandable). I mostly liked it, and it doesn’t feel like it’s necessarily trying to be too edgy for the most part. With that said, there were a couple moments that probably should’ve been left out, one in particular was really unneeded and shouldn’t have been included in the first place. Most of the movie for what it is though was really good.

A large part of why this movie works so well is the fantastic cast, with Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant. McConaughey is in the lead role, and although he seems a little out of place with him being really the only American in the main cast, he fits into the movie rather well. Hunnam actually surprised me quite a lot, he really does some good work here. The two standouts to me personally were Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant. Farrell is in a minor role but gets so many moments to shine. However, this may just be Grant’s movie, he’s in a completely different role that you’re used to seeing him in. He steals the show every time he’s on screen, he’s the one actually telling much of the story, and he’s constantly entertaining.

Guy Ritchie is definitely at home directing in this genre. While his style like much of the story and the like are similar to his other crime movies, it’s polished up rather nicely here. All of his style works, especially when it comes to Grant’s character telling the story. A lot of people could say that this movie is style over substance, but with Ritchie, his style is his substance, and it works pretty well for the film.

The Gentlemen is a return to form for Guy Ritchie. It’s darkly hilarious, constantly entertaining, effectively written and directed, and the cast do well. It’s not quite on the level on some of his other movies, but it’s still by far his best movie in many years. If you liked Ritchie’s past crime movies, this might just be what you’re looking for, if you’re not then don’t bother with this one. I hope he continues to make more of these types of movies instead of his recent blockbusters, because he’s really great at the former.

Paddington 2 (2017) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast
Hugh Bonneville as Henry Brown
Sally Hawkins as Mary Brown
Brendan Gleeson as Nuckles McGinty
Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird
Jim Broadbent as Samuel Gruber
Peter Capaldi as Mr. Curry
Hugh Grant as Phoenix Buchanan
Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington Brown
Madeleine Harris as Judy Brown
Samuel Joslin as Jonathan Brown
Director: Paul King

Settled in with the Brown family, Paddington the bear is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and marmalade wherever he goes. One fine day, he spots a pop-up book in an antique shop — the perfect present for his beloved aunt’s 100th birthday. When a thief steals the prized book, Paddington embarks on an epic quest to unmask the culprit before Aunt Lucy’s big celebration.

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The first Paddington was surprisingly good, it was funny it was enjoyable, it was a really solid family movie. So I was naturally interested in a sequel and with the returning cast and crew involved with the sequel it seemed it would be good. I haven’t seen the original film in a few years but I can say that Paddington 2 is about as good as the original, with much of what make the first film work so well making a return here.

Like with the original, Paul King wrote the sequel and I’m glad that he has. Once again it balances everything incredibly well and from start to finish is very entertaining to watch. It pretty much has everything that a good family movie should have. Kids will love it and adults can enjoy this as well, it’s not just for kids. The humour is effective and will hit with everyone. It is also very sweet and whimsical but never feels cheesy or forced, it feels genuine. Paddington 2 is an hour and 43 minutes long and it’s a good length, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and is long enough that its satisfying. Also without spoiling anything, it has the perfect ending. Also, it’s worth staying around in the early credits, there is a fun little sequence that follows.

The returning cast were great. Ben Wishaw is still a perfect voice choice for Paddington, so likable and innocent. The Browns played by Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin were once again good here. The newer cast were also quite good. Hugh Grant was the villain here, here he plays a self obsessed and over the top actor and Grant was very into his role and was very entertaining. He’s not as threatening as Nicole Kidman’s villain from the previous Paddington, though he wasn’t meant to be, and for what Grant is doing he did a great job. Other supporting actors like Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Brendan Gleeson were also good, Gleeson in particular was a great addition.

Paul King, director of the original Paddington returns and once again did a great job. Visually this film is quite colourful and the direction is just right for the film. There are especially some great visual moments that are creative, one of them involves the camera moving into the pop up book with Paddington appearing inside the book. I really do think the direction deserves more credit because the way they execute certain sequences is actually quite genius. The animation on Paddington is still seamless, you know that he is not actually there and that the actors on screen are probably just interacting with a tennis ball but it never looks or seems fake.

Once again, its been a few years since I’ve seen the original Paddington so I can’t comment too much on how they compare but Paddington 2 is probably around the same level of quality. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, it’s heartwarming, and it’s great for the whole family. If you liked the first film, I can’t see why you wouldn’t like the sequel. I’m actually on board with a Paddington 3, the first 2 were so good that I can’t see why a third movie wouldn’t be at the same level of quality.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) Review

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo
Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin
Alicia Vikander as Gabriella “Gaby” Teller
Elizabeth Debicki as Victoria Vinciguerra
Jared Harris as Saunders
Hugh Grant as Alexander Waverly
Director: Guy Ritchie

In the 1960s with the Cold War in play, CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) successfully helps Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) defect to West Germany despite the intimidating opposition of KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). Later, all three unexpectedly find themselves working together in a joint mission to stop a private criminal organization from using Gaby’s father’s scientific expertise to construct their own nuclear bomb. Through clenched teeth and stylish poise, all three must find a way to cooperate for the sake of world peace, even as they each pursue their own agendas.

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Along with the cast, the main reason I was interested in this movie was Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie can create very stylish and entertaining movies and seeing him take on the 60s spy genre is something that I was curious about. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is not a great movie but it is entertaining. The style benefited the movie, the acting was good and I was generally enjoying watching it. However the story wasn’t very strong and you don’t really care much about what’s going on. I still think that it’s enjoyable to watch but don’t expect something particularly great going into it.

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This film definitely has more style over substance, if you know Guy Ritchie, you sort of know what sort of style you’re getting. Even when I enjoyed the style, when it comes to the plot in U.N.C.L.E., it’s nothing special. The plot worked for the film but you don’t really remember much of it and it’s a quite a familiar premise. I didn’t really care much about what was going on, or cared much for the characters. I was enjoying the way it was done but didn’t really care much for the story. I could tell that it was trying to spoof the 1960s spy movies and I thought that it worked quite well in doing that. The humour worked quite well however when the film actually tries to have serious moments, it really didn’t hit the right notes. I think that Ritchie probably should have stayed with the over the top tone, have a much simpler plot and go all out silly with the movie and just have even more fun with it.

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Henry Cavill was great, despite being British he was actually convincing at being an American. Armie Hammer worked for the film even though I felt that his Russian accent was a little over the top at times (odd casting by the way, a Brit playing an American and an American playing a Russian). The two have great chemistry and it lead to some humorous moments between the two. Alicia Vikander was also pretty good in a supporting role. I would’ve liked to have seen Hugh Grant more, he is great when he was on screen but it happens so little that I can’t help but feel like he was wasted in this movie.

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As I said earlier, this movie was more style over substance, but the style is enjoyable and added something to this movie. Sometimes it did feel that Ritchie’s fast style was used a little too much and distracted a little but most of the time I thought it worked well in the movie. The action scenes are also really good and very entertaining.

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The Man from UNCLE doesn’t require viewing but it is entertaining. The acting was decent and the action scenes are pretty good but the plot is a little forgettable and you don’t really care about what’s going on. Still it’s a decent watch and it is enjoyable, however it’s not a movie that you need to see and it’s not really one of Guy Ritchie’s best.