Film Reviews 2017 Part II - Chatting About More Films I Have Seen This Year!

Monday, 23 October 2017

Hey hey! Welcome back to Part Two of my 'Film Reviews 2017', read Part I if you fancy it then come back here for Part II! So, settle down, grab a cuppa and find out which other films I've seen....!

Wonder Woman.

I saw this on the same day I saw 'Baywatch', and it was absolutely brilliant! It was so refreshing to see a woman in the lead role and kicking some ass! Raised on an isolated island to be a warrior, Diana, (played by Gal Gadot) believes she can save the world when she meets a pilot who crash lands. Diana believes that because she is an Amazonian princess, she can stop this war and bring peace to the world. What she finds instead is humanity intent on destroying itself and there's nothing that she can do to prevent it. 

What I loved about this film was how they allowed Diana to discover the world for herself, against her mother's wishes, just like any other teenage girl. It is easy to see just how sheltered she has been on her island when she gets the the 'real world' and can't understand why the war hasn't stopped when she kills Ares the God of War. You realise her mother, Queen Hippolyta has only been protecting her just like any mother would want to. And being a typical teenager, Diana wants to break away from her mother to see if she really can 'stop the war to end all wars.' 

It was really well shot and has a great storyline behind it. We all know that Wonder Woman is part of the DC/Marvel universe so it's interesting to get to know her a bit more just like we have done with 'Thor', 'Wolverine', 'Iron Man' and 'Fantastic Four'. As usual there is a love story but I'll let that slide because I just loved seeing a woman being given such a high profile role and being allowed to tell us Wonder Woman's story so brilliantly. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn't mind seeing it again actually. Plus it is the only superhero film to be directed by a woman - Patty Jenkins! Another fabulous reason to see it! 

I hope they make another one because it would be good to see a continuation of her story. 9/10

Baby Driver

This was an Odeon 'Screen Unseen' which was absolutely brilliant! It tells the story of Ansel Elgort ('Baby') being used by a crime boss 'Doc' played by Kevin Spacey as a getaway driver because of his ability to get out of sticky situations and pull off any wild move so long as he as the right track playing. 'Baby' is partially deaf after a car accident which killed his parents so uses music to drown out background noise and to stop the ringing in his ears. 

It is a fast paced, action packed thriller ride of a movie which takes you on a journey of one robbery after another with 'Baby' thinking each one is the last. (He owes money to 'Doc' and pays him back after each heist) 

With the last robbery approaching, 'Baby' starts seeing a waitress called Deborah and thinking about life outside of crime, but 'Doc' doesn't see it that way and asks him to to one more job with a group of ever more shady characters who 'Baby' thinks can't be trusted. This last heist is doomed to fail from the beginning and puts everyone 'Baby' cares about in the firing line. 

It is thrilling, action packed and full of incredible music from the outset. Each robbery bringing with it a new song for 'Baby' to fire up and drive to. As the film goes on, we start to see that 'Baby' craves a life away from crime with his new beau Deborah. They share a love of music and a dream to escape their lives - getting a car and just driving down the highway with only a kick ass playlist for company.

Towards the end of the film we see 'Baby' try to save people from being caught up in the last bank robbery. he is recognised by one of the bank tellers as he waits outside and silently tells her not to go in. As this last robbery plays out we understand that 'Baby' really is a good kid who got caught up with the wrong crowd and wants to do right by people which is shown by the number of character witnesses who come to court to testify in defence of 'Baby'. A good kid who got caught up with the wrong crowd.

 I absolutely loved it, mainly for the incredible sound track but also for the car chases and stunts! If you're a fan of 'The Fast & The Furious' then I can highly recommend 'Baby Driver'. 9/10

X-Men - The Last Stand.

I have seen all of the X-Men films and absolutely love them all so I definitely had to see this one when it came out. I had seen 'Logan' earlier in the year and loved it too, although it was sad to see 'Wolverine' who was once so strong become weak. Anyway, this film focuses on what is happening when a cure is found which can turn any mutant into a 'normal human' which some of the X-Men see as a good thing, in particular Rouge. 

I am a bit confused here because I saw 'Logan' recently too so I apologise if there is any overlap! This film concentrates on the 'mutants' once again rising above anybody who dares to take them down or think that anything less than being themselves is somehow better. 

Some of the X-Men and their students want this cure as they see their 'power' as a disability which holds them back from having a 'normal life', even with Xavier and Logan telling them that it isn't and their mutant ability should be seen as a gift. 

The X-Men keep coming up against resistance in particular Magneto who being a mutant himself lies on the opposite side of mutant ethics from Xavier, although he does love him like a brother and is seemingly upset at his death. 

As with most films of this genre, it is a tale of good versus evil and the good guys having to rise up against those who are forever telling them they're the evil ones who need to be extinguished or 'made human'. Magneto still believes there is a war coming and so recruits his army to take down Warren Worthington II and his cure (we later learn that his son is also a mutant and deciding that in fact, he doesn't want a cure and escaping his father's lab.) He has an advantage which can destroy anything, including the X-Men - Jean Grey is back and has joined forces with Magneto. This could spell disaster for Xavier, Wolverine and all other X-Men. 

If you're a fan of the X-Men series then you'll love this latest instalment. All your favourites return to once again fight against evil and prove that being a mutant is a gift. 

We are taken on an emotional journey with our best loved X-Men, in particular Xavier, Wolverine (Logan), Jean and Storm. I could quite happily spend hours watching all of the films in this collection because I just absolutely love the whole comic hero genre.

 A definite must for superhero fans everywhere! 9/10

A Cure For Wellness

This is hands down, the most bizarre and weirdest film I have ever seen. Genuinely I still don't fully understand what it was even about but I'll try and do my best here for you! 

Basically, the main protagonist Lockhart played by Dane DeHaan is sent by his company to retrieve their CEO from a  mysterious 'wellness centre' at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. It soon becomes apparent that all is not at it seems and as he tries to uncover its secrets he too becomes afflicted with the same mystery illness which keeps everyone at the centre waiting for a cure. Lockhart tries his best to stay sane and find his CEO, all the while doing his best to avoid being given any treatments himself. Unfortunately for Lockhart this doesn't last long and as his teeth start to fall out (a common side effect of the 'vitamins' everyone is given) he gets a drill in his front teeth! Not the worst but definitely not the best! 

Lockhart meets Hannah, who is the daughter of the wellness centre's owner and he tries his best to save her too, especially as she is almost raped towards the end of the film. She is very innocent and believes everything her father tells her not quite understanding the depth of depravity going on at the 'wellness centre'. 

As this was another Odeon Screen Unseen, I didn't quite know what to expect but was pleased all the same because I was genuinely intrigued by the film itself, but I did feel it didn't explain anything either. Like, what the hell was up with people being in tanks and their urine being extracted?! Are we supposed to believe that this was what people were given to drink later on!? Ugh, for confusion alone I have to give this film 4/10.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

So pleased I got to see this before it left cinemas because it was absolutely brilliant! As you may know, Harry Potter reads Newt's diary at Hogwarts and he is quite significant in the whole story.  This film chronicles the adventures of Newt Scamander and his suitcase full of 'Fantastic Beasts!'. 

Eddie Redmayne plays Newt really well and brings him to life. He is a wizard activist from England who stops over in New York whilst on his way to Arizona and his visit would have been incident free had it not been for a misplaced suitcase, a No-Maj (American term for muggle) baker and a whole host of missing beasts! 

Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) plays the downtrodden factory worker who dreams of opening his own bakery but gets turned down by the bank when he asks for a loan. At the same time Newt enters the bank on the hunt for an escaped niffler who went after a silver coin. What ensues is almost a comedy of errors as Newt is forced to use his magic in front of no-majes, Jacob picks up an occamy egg which starts to hatch and Newt ends up being arrested and taken to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) by Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston). The MACUSA president, Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo), is not happy to see Tina there since she was once an auror but was dismissed due to a previous incident. 

Colin Farrell makes an appearance as baddie Senior Auror Percival Graves who is intent on stopping anything magical. Graves interrogates Newt about the obscurial in his briefcase. Believing him to be a fanatic of Grindelwald's in his agenda to put the magical community above the non-magic community through murderous means, Graves sentences Newt and Tina to death. 

 I am a massive fan of anything magical, especially if it's linked to Harry Potter. Having a bit of back story as to who Newt Scamander is really helps to make the whole Harry Potter story rounder and gives it more depth. I loved seeing all of Newt's fantastic beasts as some of them were really cute! I'd definitely love to help him look after them all! I highly recommend this film if you love vaguely fantasy/magical or are a fan of Harry Potter then you DEFINITELY need to check out Fantastic Beasts! 10/10!

Hidden Figures.

I loved this film. Without a doubt the best film about female empowerment and rising above discrimination that I have ever seen. I didn't know what to expect when I went to see this which doesn't happen often and makes for a pleasant change. It tells the story of a group of women known as 'human computers' who rose to the top of NASA as America raced Russia to be the first to put a man in space. It is based on the unbelievably true stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson who rose to the top of their respective fields, challenged boundaries and broke down the wall which separated the men who knew it all from the women who knew everything. 

This was in the time before computers were even invented and these 'human computers' had to do all their workings out on papers or on a blackboard, I mean can you just imagine calculating the trajectory of the spaceship in a notebook!? Just incredible. 

One scene in particular for me stuck out as the women finally getting treated equally - the scene where Al Harrison (played by Kevin Costner) attacks the sign 'Coloured Bathrooms' stating that "Here at NASA we all pee the same colour." This is a big step towards these women being treated as equals and being given better treatment by the men they work with. 

Each women fixes problems and rises above prejudice: Dorothy fixes the new IBM computer, Katherine correctly predicts that astronaut John Glenn will splash down in the Bahamas and Mary gets granted permission to go to night school to study engineering. 

If you were ever in doubt as to just how America got a man into space then watch this film. I for one had no idea (and why should I? I don't live in America!) so for me it was definitely a lesson in history - without these women (and many more like them) America simply would not have gotten a man into space; their whole space programme would have been shut down. I'm not going to get into the conversation about black/white women etc, I'm simply going to say that it was absolutely incredible to see women in general being given such responsibility. 

I urge everyone to give this film a go. So so powerful that it had me in tears - not that it takes much for me these days! As a woman I feel I owe a lot to these 'human computers' for being brave enough to stand up for what was right and take on the men at their own game. 

Absolutely epic 10/10.

I hope you have loved this second instalment of my 2017 film reviews! I feel this could be an on-going series because there are still so many films I have yet to talk about! Let me know if you've seen any of these, which was your favourite?! 

Love, Sarah 

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