Tag Archives: Joe Wright

Hanna (2011) Review

5819253-maxresdefault (11)

Hanna

Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] contains violence & offensive language
Cast:
Saoirse Ronan as Hanna
Eric Bana as Erik Heller
Vicky Krieps as Johanna Zadek
Cate Blanchett as Marissa Wiegler
Tom Hollander as Isaacs
Olivia Williams as Rachel
Jason Flemyng as Sebastian
Director:  Joe Wright

Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan), a 16-year-old raised to be the perfect assassin, is sent on a mission, which takes her across Europe. She is shadowed by an intelligence agent and her team.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I only knew some things about Hanna going in. I knew it was an action thriller directed by Joe Wright and starred the likes of Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. It turned out to be pretty good, and even way better than I thought it would be.

Hanna-2011

As far as thrillers go, it works for what it is. At hour and 51 minutes long, it keeps you generally invested. The premise is very straightforward, character motivations are clear cut, and the plot is pretty simple, but at the same time makes Hanna difficult to categorize as is, because it presents us a coming of age tale in the form of revenge. A lot of the charm from Hanna and what makes it distinct as a movie drives from the fact that it feels like a fairy tale. There are a lot of fairy tale and adventure references and imagery throughout. When you take into consideration the symbol presented by a Grimm fairy tale that Hanna reads, it also shows a perfect reflection of the sort of the person that Hanna has grown up to become. It’s not just Hanna who helps to create the metaphorical fairy tale presented as a cat and mouse thriller, Cate Blanchett comes along the way to present a wicked witch sort of figure in the story. Fairy tale tributes aside, the movie is character focussed, especially with the lead character, and is less action orientated. I found that this worked for the film. Despite the familiarity of the actual plot, it isn’t unpredictable, and I was pretty riveted with the story. Hanna becomes a distinct morality tale, it’s a fairly straightforward narrative that manages to mix this, a coming of age story, and a road movie all at once while remaining an action film at heart. It has an odd mix of tones here but strangely it works without issue, while also playing out in a subversive manner. There’s a bit of an open ending, which sort of worked but it did feel abrupt.

2013. Hanna

Saoirse Ronan is in the lead role as Hanna, and she’s once again good as to be expected. She carries much of her movie herself and is a step above the others in this cast. Having been trained to defend herself and growing up in an isolated environment, her character goes through an arc as she goes to different places. She manages to be convincingly ruthless and dangerous, while also being naïve and innocent. It really wouldn’t have worked as well without her. She also very believable in the action scenes. The rest of the supporting cast are good. Eric Bana is good in his screentime as Hanna’s father (who also trained her), and Cate Blanchett is very effective as the scene chewing main antagonist of the film, who is hunting Hanna down over the course of the movie. Tom Hollander is also solid as an eccentric assassin also hunting Hanna.

hanna2[1]

Joe Wright has directed this quite well, he’s a more than capable filmmaker. This is his first and currently only action movie (having been known at this point for making costume and period dramas), and he did a good job on that front. The action is snappy, crisp and fast paced, with good choreography. The action isn’t glamourised either, it’s dark and brutal while being entertaining. The score from the Chemical Brothers works quite well too. The editing, chorography and pacing all work in Wright’s favour. He doesn’t particularly do anything to reinvent the genre, but it created a bizarre and distinct mix of tones that works well.

MV5BMjE0NDE5NTg3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjAyNTg3NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,997_AL_[1]

Hanna is worth watching for sure, from Joe Wright’s great direction, to the simple yet subversive story and the performances, particularly Saoirse Ronan in the title role. As far as action movies go it’s not special, but it’s very well made, and it’s one of the more underrated action movies from the past 10 years.

Pride & Prejudice (2005) Review

post_5953d6733a487[1]

Pride & Prejudice

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating:
Cast:
Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet
Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy
Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet
Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet
Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins
Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet
Carey Mulligan as Catherine “Kitty” Bennet
Jena Malone as Lydia Bennet
Talulah Riley as Mary Bennet
Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Director: Joe Wright

The story is based on Jane Austen’s novel about five sisters – Jane (Rosamund Pike), Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), Mary (Talulah Riley), Kitty (Carey Mulligan), and Lydia Bennet (Jena Malone) – in Georgian England. Their lives are turned upside down when wealthy young Mr Bingley (Simon Woods) and his best friend, Mr Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) arrive in their neighbourhood.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

2005’s Pride & Prejudice was a movie I had heard about and have been meaning to watch for a while. Actually right before I watched the movie, I saw the mini series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, which I thought was quite good. It came with some of the dated aspects and some very tv moments as expected, but I liked it as it was. The movie is similar but different, and treating it on its own, it’s quite good.

post_marquee_5b2ce6d95e7c2[1]

Now there’s something I have to note first of all, I’m not familiar with the Jane Austen story, but from what I can tell, the mini series is pretty much an exact translation of the book. So I’m going on the assumption that I know what the book is generally like. The movie comes with the expected adaptation flaws, and it does simplify and change some aspects, though it’s usually not too much of a problem for me. It’s even set at an earlier time period which was an interesting choice. The only part that bothered me was that some aspects feel rather rushed, mainly in the first act. Going from a 6 episode long mini series to a 2 hour long movie is definitely going to feel jarring especially when comparing the two, but they rushed through so many of the early parts for like no reason at all. They could’ve easily added 10 minutes more to that portion for some moments to breathe. After that first act however it gets better, and I was quite invested in the movie even though I knew of the story and indeed it largely played out the same way as in the mini series. It’s been called one of the most romantic romance movies but some and I can certainly see why. The take on the story feels quite fresh that even people who aren’t as into period piece dramas/romances will likely find something to enjoy here. Side note but if possible, try to watch the American version of the movie. It includes an extended ending and I’m not sure why both versions don’t have that.

37-1[1]

The cast is stacked, and all the actors performed very well. Keira Knightley plays the lead character of Elizabeth Bennett and she was really great. This version of her is quite different to the mini series (and from what I can tell the book), but I thought it worked quite well for the film. Matthew Macfadyen plays Mr Darcy and he was really good, although it is quite hard seeing anyone else other than Colin Firth in the role. The chemistry between Knightley and Macfadyen is top notch and they really sell that romance over the course of the film. The actresses who played the Bennett sisters with Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Talulah Riley, and Carey Mulligan, as well as the rest of the cast which includes the likes of Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander and Judi Dench also do well in their roles.

2420938[1]

This is Joe Wright’s directorial debut and he did pretty well with his first film. It’s a great looking movie, with the costume design and sets being at the level of quality that you’d expect them to be. The cinematography also is what makes this version so special, and the aforementioned romanticism owes a lot to it, particularly with what the camera focusses on in certain moments. The score by Dario Marianelli is also really great and perfect for the film.

1483537[1]

Whether you’re familiar with the source material or not, Pride & Prejudice is definitely worth watching. It’s a very well made movie, greatly directed and acted. As to whether I think this or the mini series is better, they both have their advantages and disadvantages, but they ultimately both work for what they are.

Darkest Hour (2017) Review

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Coarse language
Cast
Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill
Kristin Scott Thomas as Clementine Churchill
Ben Mendelsohn as George VI
Lily James as Elizabeth Layton
Ronald Pickup as Neville Chamberlain
Stephen Dillane as Viscount Halifax
Director: Joe Wright

A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King (Ben Mendelsohn), and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Darkest Hour was a movie that I’ve been getting a little interested in. It’s a movie about Winston Churchill starring Gary Oldman and directed by Joe Wright, so of course I was somewhat curious about it. Darkest Hour is a pretty good movie overall, with some great performances, solid direction and a decently well done story. I wouldn’t say that it’s a great movie as a whole but it’s still worth watching.

I was interested enough in what was going on throughout the majority of the movie, it does drag at some points and I’d be lying if I said that I was completely riveted from start to finish but I was interested enough. Keep in mind that this isn’t a full on Churchill biopic, it covers him taking on the responsibilities of Prime Minister of Britain after being brought in to replace Chamberlain, and includes him dealing with the Dunkirk event while being faced with adversity within his own government. In terms of accuracy I can’t comment on it. However, there is a very out of place scene that involved Churchill on a train that I’m sure didn’t take place at all. I could tell what this scene is meant to show and why it was here in the first place, but the way it was done just felt so ridiculous and I couldn’t take it seriously at all. Aside from that rather distracting moment, it’s a rather solid movie overall.

Gary Oldman is great as Winston Churchill, you can’t really tell that it’s Oldman throughout the performance. Yes of course the makeup of course changes his physical appearance a lot but everything from his voice and the way he acted was very transformative as well, it’s not just Gary Oldman in heavy makeup trying to act as Winston Churchill. I will admit, at many points I couldn’t really tell what he was saying because of how much he mumbled but I guess maybe that’s just the way that Churchill talked. Otherwise this is a very good performance. The supporting cast was also solid and deserve some praise as well. We have Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI, Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill’s wife, Lily James as Churchill’s secretary and Ronald Pickup and Stephen Dillane as Neville Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax respectively and they all do a great job.

Joe Wright did quite well in directing this. The cinematography, set designs, costumes and the score by Dario Marianelli all work together quite well. The makeup and fat suit on Gary Oldman also worked quite well in transforming him into Winston Churchill and it never felt like it was overkill, it was just right.

Darkest Hour is a pretty solid movie with Joe Wright returning to form (at least in comparison to his last film Pan) and with the performances being the highlight, especially Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Darkest Hour is also a pretty good accompany piece to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and watching both of them will probably increase your enjoyment of both of them. I’m not quite sure how most audiences will find the overall movie but I will say that it is worth watching for Gary Oldman’s performance at the very least.

Pan (2015) Review

Time: 111 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Levi Miller as Peter Pan
Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard
Garrett Hedlund as James Hook
Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily
Adeel Akhtar as Sam “Smee” Smiegel
Nonso Anozie as Bishop
Amanda Seyfried as Mary
Kathy Burke as Mother Barnabas
Lewis MacDougall as Nibs
Jack Charles as Chief Great Little Panther
Cara Delevingne as the Mermaids
Director: Joe Wright

Living a bleak existance at a London orphanage, 12 year old Peter (Levi Miller) finds himself whisked away to the fantastical world of Neverland. Adventure awaits as he meets new friend James Hook (Garrett Hedlund) and the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). They must band together to save Neverland from the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Along the way the rebellious and mischievious boy discovers his true destiny, becoming the hero forever known as Peter Pan.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Pan looked like it had a lot of potential, so I was a little disappointed when it was ‘panned’ by most people, because I was really curious to check it out. After seeing this much hated movie, I have to say that it is… okay. I’m not going to act like it’s a great movie, I’m not even sure I’d consider it good. It has many questionable aspects of it. But at the same time it has some things that I like with a couple of the actors, the action and the general feel, I didn’t really feel bored throughout. It’s a passable movie.

The story for Pan is not very good. This movie tries to force in a prophecy story for Peter Pan and it is completely unnecessary for it to do this (and its completely cliché). You’ve seen this story before and you’ve seen it done better. Also this film just has some random moments, such as the infamous moments when people start singing “Smells Like Teen’s Spirit” and “Blitzkreig Bop”. I’m guessing that director Joe Wright wanted to be unique by blending modern elements into this story but it just felt incredibly out of place. This movie is basically the first instalment of a trilogy for the origin story for Peter Pan. Unfortunately because this movie flopped and was panned, the sequels were cancelled, so looking at the ending of this movie now is like looking at the last scenes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But even in this movie, there are some elements that didn’t work that well. For example, at no point does Hook feel like he could become the villain Captain Hook in the future. There’s never a dark edge to him. Despite this and countless other issues with the movie, it was still watchable, if annoying at times with the constant amount of times they didn’t do things right. I was reasonably entertained throughout, I wasn’t really bored at any point. So at least if you are just wanting an above average family action fantasy film that’s entertaining enough, you’ve got that with Pan.

Levi Miller is playing Peter Pan and he is trying his best here but I have a feeling he wasn’t given enough direction, he was okay overall. The reason to see this movie is Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, he absolutely steals the show, chewing up scenery in every single scene he’s in. Jackman is effortlessly entertaining in this movie and was used to his fullest potential (in that he was effective as a fun, over the top villain)/ A controversial casting decision was Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily (I didn’t have an opinion on it since this is the first time I’ve seen Tiger Lily in anything). All I will say is that Rooney Mara was good in this movie, probably one of the best performances in this movie alongside Jackman. Her choreography in her action scenes was also great. I will say that she did feel kind of out of place, she still acted well in her role. If there’s a negative acting wise I will say that it’s Garrett Hedlund as Hook. Hedlund is a fine actor but he’s not good here, he is kinda over the top in the annoying kind of way, and as I said earlier there were no hints of villanouy in him, so it’s hard to buy him becoming Peter Pan’s adversary in the future. Oh and Cara Delevingne shows up in a 1 minute cameo as twin mermaids, which was kind of pointless.

The direction of Pan was a bit of a mixed bag overall. A lot of the style and world of Neverland I liked, some of it was hit or miss though. The visual effects are very poor, it looks incredibly fake and embarrassing, especially when it comes to the green screen. It’s actually kind of embarrassing. Aside from that, the action itself was filmed well, with the fight scenes being quite entertaining. The score I will say is great, if only it was used in a much better movie.

Pan is not really that good as a movie but it’s not really bad either. The CGI was very bad, the story wasn’t particularly interesting or special. However I liked Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara and the action scenes (minus the effects), I wasn’t that bored throughout, it was passable, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained during it. I say check it out if you’re interested but don’t expect anything great.