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Emma. (2020) Review

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Emma (2020)

Time: 124 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Nudity
Cast:
Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse
Johnny Flynn as George Knightley
Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse
Mia Goth as Harriet Smith
Miranda Hart as Miss Bates
Josh O’Connor as Mr. Elton
Callum Turner as Frank Churchill
Rupert Graves as Mr. Weston
Gemma Whelan as Mrs. Weston
Director: Autumn de Wilde

Following the antics of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lives in Georgian- and Regency-era England and occupies herself with matchmaking – in sometimes misguided, often meddlesome fashion- in the lives of her friends and family.

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Emma was one of the movies from 2020 that I was rather looking forward to. I’m not familiar with the novel it’s based on (or really any Jane Austen novel), however I liked the cast involved (with the likes of Anya Taylor-Joy, Mia Goth and Bill Nighy involved), and from the looks of the trailer, it looked quite good. While I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in beyond what it’s based on, I thought Emma was quite good, and I had some fun with it.

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While I’m not familiar with Jane Austen’s original novel, it seemed to have been adapted very well for today’s audiences here. The script is well written, very witty and snappy, and the dialogue is particularly great. The tone is handled well also, it’s very humorous (and most of the movie is generally comedic) but also quite heartfelt. One problem with the movie is that although the runtime is just over 2 hours long, it feels just a little longer than that, and that’s due to the pacing. You are still into the movie throughout, but occasionally there was the feeling that it dragged a little bit at certain points. That didn’t prove to be too much of a problem though, I was generally entertained by the movie.

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The cast all work really well in their roles, and are among the highlights of the film. Anya Taylor-Joy is in the lead role of Emma Woodhouse, and she gives an absolutely wonderful performance. She’s incredibly charming, yet doesn’t shy away from the more selfish aspects of the character, and really grabs your attention every time she’s on screen (which is pretty much almost the entirety of the movie). The supporting cast with the likes of Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner and others work as well, also giving some solid performances. Among them however, Goth was the standout for me, she’s perfect in her role, and is definitely a ‘different’ character that we’re used to seeing her playing (considering the number of gothic and horror movies she’s starred in recently). She and Taylor-Joy particularly shine in their scenes together, sharing some excellent chemistry.

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Emma is the debut film from director Autumn de Wilde, and her work here is impressive for a first movie. On the whole, it’s outstanding on a technical level. Visually it’s stunning, and the use of colour was really effective, it was absolutely gorgeous to look at. On top of that, the costume designs and the production design are amazing, which you’d expect from a period piece movie, but nonetheless is great impressive to see. Much of the movie is very stylish (more so than you’d expect it to be really), but it’s done in a way that suits the material.

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Emma is quite good for what it is, and I generally had a good time with it. It’s entertaining, written and directed well, visually colourful and stunning, and the cast all round is great, especially Anya Taylor-Joy and Mia Goth. I’m not sure what people who have read the books will think about this adaptation, nor can I say how well it has adapted the original book to the big screen (or how it compares to previous adaptations), but I enjoyed what I watched. Definitely give it a watch whenever you get a chance to see it.

Spy (2015) Review

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Spy

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Sexual References and Offensive Language
Cast:
Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe/Einar Wegener
Alicia Vikander as Gerda Wegener
Matthias Schoenaerts as Hans Axgil
Ben Whishaw as Henrik
Amber Heard as Ulla
Sebastian Koch as Dr. Warnekros
Director: Paul Feig

Despite having solid field training, CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has spent her entire career as a desk jockey, working hand-in-hand with dashing agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Using high-tech equipment and a hidden earpiece, Susan is the guardian angel who helps Bradley avoid danger. However, when Bradley is assassinated by Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), Susan wrangles her way into her first undercover assignment to help capture Boyanov and avenge Bradley.

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There have been a lot of spy movies this year, with Kingsman: The Secret Service, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Spectre and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Spy is another one of these movies and like U.N.C.L.E. and Kingsman, is a comedy, and a very good one at that. I haven’t watched any of Melissa McCarthy or Paul Feig’s other movies (Bridesmaids, The Heat) before but now I definitely want to. This movie is really entertaining from start to finish, with good performances, a great script and the movie never had any dull moments.

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When it comes to the plot it wasn’t anything special, someone who isn’t a field agent is forced to become one but despite that, it still worked for the film. The great thing is that they played with the usual plot set up, unlike a lot of films like Get Smart where the spy character isn’t exactly the smartest, McCarthy’s character is great at what she does, making the whole movie more enjoyable as well as fresh and new. With that said, you’re not going to be really focused on the plot, the film was mostly focussed on these characters in these situations and the comedy that insures. This movie is still a comedy and the humour is mixed in well into the movie, and all the actors have at least one great comedic moment in the film.

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This is the first Melissa McCarthy movie I’ve seen and I really liked her here. As I said earlier one thing I like about her character is that it’s not like Get Smart or Pink Panther where the main character is incompetent but yet saves the day (sometimes accidently). Her character here is actually capable and it was very entertaining to watch her be awesome, especially in the action scenes. The supporting cast which had Miranda Hart, Jude Law and Rose Byrne were also really good. The showstealer for me though was Jason Statham. His performance was sort of a parody on his previous action film roles, with him being super intense and overly serious (which he pretty much does in every movie he’s in). There is one moment where he has a monologue which I can only describe as multiple Chuck Norris jokes rolled into one and for me it was the funniest scene in the whole movie.

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The action scenes were actually really good, I haven’t seen The Heat so I don’t know if Spy is the first action movie Paul Feig directed but it was really good. What surprised me is that this movie actually works as an action movie, which really gave Spy even more credibility and separated it from other films with similar premises.

SPY - 2015 FILM STILL - Pictured: Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) clearly has eyes for her partner, superspy Bradley Fine (Jude Law) - Photo Credit: Larry Horricks © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

Spy is a great action comedy movie and I think it’s really worth watching. I haven’t watched any of Paul Feig’s other movies but if they are anywhere near as good as Spy, I would really like to check them out at some point and from this movie alone, I think Paul Feig will deliver a great Ghostbusters movie coming later this year (even if the trailer doesn’t showcase it). From the smart writing, hilarious performances and of course the great comedy, there’s a lot to enjoy about it. Check it out if it interests you.