Tag Archives: Joel Edgerton

Thirteen Lives (2022) Review

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Thirteen Lives

Time: 147 Minutes
Cast:
Viggo Mortensen as Richard Stanton
Colin Farrell as John Volanthen
Joel Edgerton as Richard Harris
Tom Bateman as Chris Jewell
Director: Ron Howard

A rescue mission is assembled in Thailand where a group of young boys and their soccer coach are trapped in a system of underground caves that are flooding.

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I remember hearing the story of the rescue of a youth soccer team in a cave in Thailand back in 2018, and its no surprise that a movie would end up being made based on it. That eventually resulted in one such film directed by Ron Howard. I haven’t seen the documentary about the same event called The Rescue which came out a year earlier, but I liked Thirteen Lives.

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Thirteen Lives is well scripted, the story is simple and is told in a straightforward way. I only knew the very basics of the real story, so some of the reveals and directions the story went in did genuinely surprise me, especially with the methods the divers took to rescue the people from the cave. While it is a dramatization and certain moments might’ve been added in just to raise the tension, it keeps any added melodrama to a minimum. The story didn’t need additional work and speaks for itself. Despite knowing the outcome of the story, the stakes felt high and it was compelling watching everyone come together in an effort to try to save all those lives. There isn’t a lot of character development, as a result I do think that it doesn’t quite have the emotional impact that it is aiming for. This is a long movie at 2 hours and 30 minutes long, and while I was invested in what is going on, it does admittedly overstay its welcome a bit, and is a bit too long.

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One of the strongest aspects was the great acting. Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen are great as the cave divers from the UK who try to rescue the boys. The rest of the cast are strong from (an especially great) Joel Edgerton, Tom Bateman, and everyone else, down to the actors who play the kids trapped in the cave.

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Ron Howard directs this movie very well and he especially succeeds at making everything feel effectively tense. The cave diving scenes are some of the highlights of the movie, well shot, riveting and claustrophobic. There is some impressive underwater camera work and great sound design that makes you feel like you’re right there with the divers as they navigate the dark and cramped caves. I can’t speak as to how it was in real life, but it certainly felt authentic. Its also helped by the score from a solid score from an ever reliable Benjamin Wallfisch.

THIRTEEN LIVES (2022)

Thirteen Lives is a solid thriller and admirable retelling of the true events. It may be a little too long and the lack of characterisation does take away from the movie somewhat, but on the whole its really good, with the straightforward storytelling, strong performances, and Ron Howard’s direction. Worth checking out.

The Green Knight (2021) Review

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The Green Knight

Time: 130 Minutes
Cast:
Dev Patel as Sir Gawain
Alicia Vikander as Essel and the Lady
Joel Edgerton as the Lord
Sarita Choudhury as Morgan le Fay
Sean Harris as King Arthur
Ralph Ineson as the Green Knight
Barry Keoghan as the Scavenger
Erin Kellyman as Winifred
Kate Dickie as Queen Guinevere
Director: David Lowery

King Arthur’s headstrong nephew (Dev Patel) embarks on a daring quest to confront the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson), a mysterious giant who appears at Camelot. Risking his head, he sets off on an epic adventure to prove himself before his family and court.

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I was greatly anticipating The Green Knight. I was a fan of David Lowery, director of A Ghost Story, Pete’s Dragon, and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, and it had a good cast that included Dev Patel and Alicia Vikander. From the descriptions it was a medieval fantasy based off an Arthurian legend and I was interested to see how Lowery would do with that. The Green Knight isn’t for everyone by any means, but I found watching it to be a phenomenal experience.

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Try to go into the movie blind, the less you know about the movie, the better. The Green Knight is based on a 14th Century poem (called Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) which I’m unfamiliar with. Essentially (and without spoiling anything) the movie is about the protagonist Sir Gawain going on an epic journey to seek honour and fulfil his destiny. It sounds simple and familiar, but its not a conventional (or easily accessible) movie by any means. It certainly wasn’t the type of movie I was expecting. This is definitely not like most fantasy films or tv like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. The story has such a grand scope, but its also blended with this deeply intimate emotional journey, a journey which I found thoroughly compelling. Much of the movie is Gawain wandering different lands and encountering other individuals on his spiritual journey. This movie very much subverts the familiar ‘hero’s journey’ trope, and deconstructs it, and thematically there is so much here to unpack. It is a very contemplative and meditative film, and as such is very much a slow burn. It takes its time to establish its themes, tone, and the development of the main character. However I was personally never bored, I was drawn into this dreamlike world especially with its surrealistic atmosphere. I was surprised at how effectively unsettling it was considering what the movie is based on, there is this constant sense of impending doom which kept me riveted all the way to the end. The last 20 minutes was truly spectacular, with the movie ending with one of the most visually stunning sequences I’ve seen.

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There are a lot of great actors in this movie, and they are all really good in their parts. First of all, you have Dev Patel as the lead character of Gawain and this has to be the best performance I’ve seen from him. He’s perfectly cast in this role, the whole film follows him, and he does well carrying it. It’s a very subtle performance, you feel the weight and gravity of what’s happening and you see his state of mind just from his expressions alone. The supporting cast were all fantastic too. Alicia Vikander is really good and memorable in dual roles, definitely a standout in the cast. Sean Harris and Joel Edgerton are great. Barry Keoghan is only in one scene but makes a strong impression, and Ralph Ineson is great as the Green Knight in his few appearances.

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David Lowery has directed some great movies, but The Green Knight is on a whole other level compared to what he’s done before, his work here is practically flawless. It is lower budget at around $15 million, but everything on a technical level from the sound design, camera work, visuals and set designs are stellar. I imagine that it would’ve been amazing to watch this on the big screen. The cinematography is truly phenomenal and dreamlike, it just felt so epic and magical. It really is one of the most visually mesmerising films I’ve seen in recent years. The film does use CGI, but it is minimal and subtle, and the fact that they shot on location goes a long way. The sets and costumes are very well detailed too. The score from Daniel Hart is great, a mix of epic and folk music, really helping to set the tone of the film.

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The Green Knight lingers in the mind long after I watched it, and it is a movie I want to revisit in the future. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but I loved it. The performances are outstanding led by a career best Dev Patel, the story is compelling with a unique take on the hero’s journey, and the visuals and David Lowery’s direction was amazing to watch. One of my favourite movies of 2021 thus far.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010) Review

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Legend of the Guardians - The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Some Scenes May Scare Very Young Children
Cast:
Jim Sturgess as Soren
Emily Barclay as Gylfie
Ryan Kwanten as Kludd
David Wenham as Digger
Anthony LaPaglia as Twilight
Helen Mirren as Nyra
Geoffrey Rush as Ezylryb/the Lyze of Kiel
Joel Edgerton as Metal Beak
Hugo Weaving as Noctus and Grimble
Adrienne DeFaria as Eglantine
Miriam Margolyes as Mrs. Plithiver
Sam Neill as Allomere
Sacha Horler as Strix Struma
Abbie Cornish as Otulissa
Richard Roxburgh as Boron
Director: Zack Snyder

A father owl’s tales of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole enthrals his son Soren, but an older son scoffs at the stories of winged warriors who fought an epic battle to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones. Later the brothers become captives of the Pure Ones, but Soren makes a daring escape and, with the help of other young owls, seeks out the Guardians and brings them back to defend their people once again.

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This was actually the first film from Zack Snyder that I watched. It seems like an odd choice for him to direct looking back at his filmography. He’s more known for adapting comic books and graphic novels, not young adult books about animals. While it doesn’t rank among the best movies of his filmography, I thought it was pretty good.

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I actually had read the books this movie is based on some time ago, that being the Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky. I don’t have a strong memory of the plot in the books, but I recall movie’s plot being roughly similar to that from the novels, however there were some major changes in story and characters. The plot of this movie is quite a simple good and evil story. With that said, it’s darker than most children’s animated movies, and that is one of its biggest strengths. It was a while since I’ve read the books, but parts of the plot and the visuals are darker than you’d usually see. The only problem I have with this is that the tone is a little all over the place, as the humour is a bit unbalanced it has one too many jokes mixed in with this epic story. This movie covers the first 6 books in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole book series, and although the books aren’t that large, there’d be quite a lot of the story to be told in one movie. If it was going to be just one movie, it would probably need to be over 2 hours long to develop the characters and story enough, as well as not feeling a little rushed. As it is, the movie is under an hour and 40 minutes long, and the pacing is a little all over the place. It does feel like the movie doesn’t quite live up to its potential story-wise Also, maybe it’s because much of the movie is more mature than I expected, but I kind of wished for slightly more complexity from the story and characters, even though I know it’s essentially a children’s animated movie. The dialogue is also a little clunky at some points. The movie did leave at a point where it could go further with sequels, but unfortunately we didn’t get any.

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The characters aren’t particularly deep and are generally fine, the heroic characters are heroic, the quirky characters are quirky, and the evil characters are evil. I wish the was more to them but they are elevated by the voice cast, with the likes of Jim Sturgess, Emily Barclay, David Wenham, Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush and Joel Edgerton, making each of the characters stand out more and more memorable. The villain voiced by Edgerton particularly stood out and was quite effective in his scenes.

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This is the first and only animated film from Zack Snyder, and he’s done very well with his direction here. All of his movies are visually stunning, and Legend of the Guardians is no exception. It’s greatly animated, the environments, lighting and colours are outstanding, and when it particularly comes to the effects for the feathers and particularly elements like fire and water, it’s a wonder to watch. Although some had made fun of Snyder’s use of slow motion in some of his movies, it’s used absolutely perfectly here. While it definitely would’ve looked much better if it was made today, it still looks pretty good a decade later. The action involving the owls is also effective, especially some battle scenes towards the end. It’s hard to pull off making owls fighting look epic, but Snyder does it. This may be an animated movie, but you can still tell that this is one of his movies through and through. The music is generally good, except for a moment when a song played by Owl City is played, and aside from the pun with the band name, it’s really out of place and doesn’t fit in with the rest of the movie.

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is quite good, visually stunning, well made and enjoyable to watch. While there are some things holding back from being even better and reaching its full potential, I liked it overall, and I wished that we got to see more of these movies in this series. I’d like to see Snyder make another animated movie sometime, he certainly showed that here that he’s more than capable of it.

Warrior (2011) Review

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Warrior

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Tom Hardy as Tommy Riordan Conlon
Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon
Nick Nolte as Paddy Conlon
Jennifer Morrison as Tess Conlon
Frank Grillo as Frank Campana
Director: Gavin O’Connor

The youngest son (Tom Hardy) of an alcoholic former boxer returns home, where he’s trained by his father (Nick Nolte) for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament – a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his estranged, older brother (Joel Edgerton).

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I saw Warrior for the first time a while ago, I remembered the general plot, and I remember liking it but that’s it. I’ve been meaning to it rewatch it for some time, and having watched a lot of other Tom Hardy movies recently, it was the best time for me to watch it again. I’m glad I did, I like it even more than I did the first time, an emotional drama that you can easily get invested in.

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Despite MMA playing a key part of the movie, at its core, Warrior is a drama about family. Yes, there’s a number of familiar sporting tropes, you get the montages, you get some moments that could be argued as a little cheesy, but if you’re as invested in the story and characters as I was, that won’t even matter. The only sports movie trope that it really could’ve gone without was the typical big unstoppable Russian opponent, who’s also literally called Koba. On top of his existence in the story being kind of silly and out of place, he ultimately doesn’t have that much of a significant part in the story, and could’ve been swapped out with any powerful fighter and avoided the rather dated trope. The plot isn’t exactly unpredictable, especially if you’ve seen other stories like this, and even other sports movies, but it is handled so well. Warrior from the beginning establishes itself as a sincere and honest movie with its characters clearly being the main focus. Despite the familiarity of the story, it does feel real, and the well written script played a part in that too. It’s 2 hours and 20 minutes long, but I was quite into the story and it didn’t even feel that long to be honest.

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The acting is one of the best parts of the movie. The main two leads are Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, and both are really great in their roles. They are convincing as brothers, and they were also convincing in the fighting scenes. Hardy gives a typically great performance as this damaged character with issues, conveying his single mindedness in and out of the ring. Edgerton gives some of his best work as his character, very genuine, authentic, and easy to root for. It’s not just those two however, Nick Nolte gives an intensely emotional performance that has rightfully been receiving acclaim. This has to be the best performance I’ve seen from Nolte, here playing the father of both Hardy and Edgerton’s characters, who was a former alcoholic and had a lot of regrets. The dynamic between each of the three actors are strong and believable, and there’s a lot of tension between them. Also good in supporting roles is Jennifer Morrison as Edgerton’s wife, and Frank Grillo as Edgerton’s coach.

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Gavin O’Connor directed this movie very well, handling both the drama and fighting aspects of the film strongly. Despite them not being the main focus or even the highlights of the film, O’Connor does really well to get the audience really engaged and invested in the fight scenes, even those who aren’t really interested in MMA. The fights also feel very believable, and you really feel the impact of every blow.

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Warrior is a really good movie, emotional, entertaining, and all around great, far better than it appears to be at first. You don’t have to be a fan of MMA or other fighting sports to get into the movie, while those fight scenes are very strong, the rest of the movie works as a drama first and foremost, and is just so excellently written, directed and overall well made that there’s something for everyone in it. I thought it was great, and even if you don’t think you’ll like it, I definitely think you should give it a chance when you can.

Red Sparrow (2018) Review

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence, sexual violence, rape, cruelty and offensive language
Cast:
Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika Egorova
Joel Edgerton as Nate Nash
Matthias Schoenaerts as Ivan Vladimirovich Egorov
Charlotte Rampling as “Matron”
Mary-Louise Parker as Stephanie Boucher
Jeremy Irons as General Vladimir Andreievich Korchnoi
Ciarán Hinds as Colonel Zakharov
Joely Richardson as Nina Egorova
Bill Camp as Marty Gable
Director: Francis Lawrence

Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent (Joel Edgerton) who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.

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Red Sparrow is a movie I was aware of. It went through a lot of development, from Darren Aronofsky in talks to direct it, then David Fincher was in talks to direct with Rooney Mara to star in the lead role, before finally ending with Francis Lawrence set to direct and Jennifer Lawrence set to star in the lead role. Not going to lie, hearing the prospect of David Fincher directing a spy movie, only for Francis Lawrence to get the job let me down a little (no disrespect to Lawrence, he’s made some good movies). I still had interest in the film but I really didn’t know what to expect. Red Sparrow was actually better than I thought it would be. It had a riveting plot, was well directed and had some good performances, especially from Jennifer Lawrence.

Red Sparrow is based on the book of the same name by a retired CIA operative named Jason Matthews. However I haven’t read the book so I can’t comment on any potential differences from the book. Red Sparrow is 2 hours and 20 minutes long and while it did really feel it’s length, the story really did have my interest. You have to know that this is a slower paced spy thriller, not a straight up action spy movie. There are plenty of twists and turns from start to finish and involved with every character. Whether or not said twists will hold up on a rewatch remains to be seen. The second half of Red Sparrow oddly seemed slower paced than the first half. Part of why this movie was so divisive is the hard R content, with the violence and sexual violence. While I can see why this turned a lot of people off, I felt that it was handled well, it was brutal enough and didn’t shy away from it, yet it wasn’t too over reliant or self indulgent on it. I think Francis Lawrence has shown himself to be at his best when he’s allowed to go into R rated territory, films like The Hunger Games, I am Legend and maybe even Constantine might be even better had he been allowed to go into those levels. The film ends with a possible set up for a sequel, I do hope that this ends up happening.

The cast all do well here. Jennifer Lawrence is the lead of Red Sparrow and this is one of her best performances yet. She really throws herself into this character who goes through a lot over the course of the movie and she gives it her all. Her Russian accent at time doesn’t always work and can slip out from time to time but it’s passable enough, and her performance aside from that is fantastic. Joel Edgerton was also really good in his role as a CIA operative who comes across Jennifer Lawrence’s character. Although Lawrence and Edgerton are great in Red Sparrow, I really didn’t buy their relationship, I could buy them working together but I never bought them actually falling in love with each other, and I know that’s what the movie was trying to show. It may well be that the writing for them wasn’t strong enough. Supporting actors like Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeremy Irons all play their roles well.

I was really impressed with Francis Lawrence’s direction here, on top of this movie being his best film, it’s the best direction of a movie I’ve seen from him. Red Sparrow looks visually great and is well put together. Also as I said earlier, the more intense scenes are handled quite well, with the right amount of brutality that’s needed. The score by James Newton Howard is also really good and adds to the movie.

Red Sparrow deserved more praise than it received. It’s really not for everyone, it is brutal and it is a long watch. But for me, the film is well directed, had my attention and had some really good performances, particularly from Jennifer Lawrence who is great here. I do hope we get a sequel and eventually a trilogy, adapting the 2 other books in the series. I’m not sure how different the first movie is from the first book but I’m sure that there’s a way to continue the series. Francis Lawrence, Jennifer Lawrence and the rest of the cast and crew did a great job here and I’d love to see them return again to this series and these characters.

Bright (2017) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast
Will Smith as Daryl Ward
Joel Edgerton as Nick Jakoby
Noomi Rapace as Leilah
Lucy Fry as Tikka
Édgar Ramírez as Kandomere
Ike Barinholtz as Pollard
Director: David Ayer

In an alternate present day, humans, orcs, elves and fairies have been coexisting since the beginning of time. Two police officers, one a human (Will Smith), the other an orc (Joel Edgerton), embark on a routine night patrol that will alter the future of their world as they know it. Battling both their own personal differences as well as an onslaught of enemies, they must work together to protect a young female elf (Lucy Fry) and a thought-to-be-forgotten relic, which, in the wrong hands, could destroy everything.

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I heard about Bright for a while leading up to its Netflix release. I like David Ayer as a director, and I like Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, however one thing that caused me to become sceptical about Bright being any good was Max Landis. It has received a lot of hate upon its release and after seeing it, I have to say that it is far from being the worst movie of 2017, but it definitely has a lot of problems. While there are some good parts to it, there is a lot of mixed aspects to it.

David Ayer hasn’t had a good track record with scripts lately. Sabotage was written by Skip Woods (who wrote Max Payne, A Good Day to Die Hard and X-Men Origins Wolverine) and Suicide Squad was written by Ayer himself, and although he can write some good movies (Training Day) he had only 6 weeks to do it. Now with Bright, Max Landis is writing, Landis is not a very good writer and surprise surprise, the script to Bright is not very good. I know that Ayer rewrote some of it but again, he had 6 weeks to write Suicide Squad and that didn’t turn out so well. Bright has some attempt to add some racial social commentary, the problem is that it is very heavy handed that its laughable at time. In fact, one of the biggest problems is that the film isn’t subtle at all. I also feel like it takes itself way too seriously, if it went more insane and over the top it might’ve worked better in a weird way. I’m not saying that it would only work if its over the top, I’m saying this because a lot of the moments when it tries to be serious and impactful, it really doesn’t leave the impression that it’s trying to have. The closest it comes is when it deals with Joel Edgerton’s character, I liked what happened with him. I was reasonably invested throughout the whole movie, flaws aside I found it to be just okay, however the third act was underwhelming. Not everything is sub par, I like the world that they have created, combining mankind with orcs, elves and fairies. The blending of fantasy element to the real world actually worked well. There’s definitely potential for a good Max-Landis-free sequel to Bright. It’s going to need a much better writer however.

Will Smith and Joel Edgerton are the leads and they had great chemistry. Some of the banter dialogue between the two doesn’t always work and can feel forced at times but the actors do what they can and they do enough to make a real impression. Edgerton in particularly is a highlight, being one of the best parts about the whole film. Nobody in the supporting cast really gets to stand out, they are okay but don’t leave a real impression. Noomi Rapace is the villain and she was okay but was completely wasted. All she did was villainous things and lacked a lot of character depth, she’s not even in the movie that much. Smith and Egerton are definitely the standouts among the cast.

David Ayer does direct this movie well for the most part. The action sequences are well filmed and were quite entertaining. The makeup is very impressive especially with the orcs, they all look great. Even the visual effects are quite good for a Netflix movie. The use of music wasn’t always the best, like Suicide Squad, Bright would often have scenes that would randomly switch between modern day songs and it would feel very out of place and unneeded.

A lot of people are wondering one thing: is Bright better than Suicide Squad? As someone who now finds SS to be a guilty pleasure, I’d say yes, but not by a huge amount. Bright is not that good of a movie but I wouldn’t call it bad either. It has an interesting world with its fantasy genre blending, Smith and Edgerton play well off each other and Ayer’s direction is solid overall. As repetitive as this criticism is, I gotta say it, Max Landis’s script is really what really holds it back from being good. Nothing is subtle and not as well executed as it should have been. Apparently, a sequel is already in the works and thankfully Max Landis is not involved. As long as they get someone else much better to write the script, I’m on board with it. It definitely has some potential.