Victoria & Abdul

Devastatingly honest, with just a glimpse of hope for post-war England.

Image result for victoria and abdul

Queen Victoria finds an unlikely friend in Abdul, an Indian servant who visits the palace to present her majesty with an ornate gift. With this newly found friendship, comes a revolt from the royal household, who believe it beneath themselves to serve an Indian.

The story of Victoria and Abdul is exceptionally sad, especially given that the plot is loosely based on true events. The lack of understanding of cultural differences is both disheartening to watch, but also greatly influential in comprehending the need for Indian independence.

With Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and Ali Fazal, a new face to mainstream acting, as Abdul, the actors find a unique rhythm with one another that seems effortless in its execution and encourages the audience to fall head over heels for the duos lovable nature.

In restoring such a magically historic relationship, this film has shed light on Britain’s ongoing struggle to accept those with differences; a problem that is never more present than in today’s current political landscape.

Advertisements

Viceroy’s House

Tremendously historic in its execution, this film proves that peace and war do not go hand in hand.

Image result for the viceroy's house

As the last British Viceroy in India, Lord Mountbatten has the task of delivering India to its people, inducing their freedom. But with a civil war breaking out between Hinduism and Islam, a division of the country is imminent.

With a film as magnificently drenched in historic realism as this one is, it was with the utmost importance to keep the script as tactful as possible. Keeping this is mind, the writers managed to create a story of love and loss to retell one of the most horrific governmental decisions to date. 

Hugh Bonneville (Lord Mountbatten) and Manish Dayal (Jeet) show both parts of this story through the perspectives of a British master and an Indian servant.

The cultural competence present within this film is a refreshing look at Indian culture and allows for a non-stereotypical taste at 1947 India.

Though the film is unlikely to reach as bigger an audience as perhaps it ought to, anyone who does watch this film is sure to go away with a newly found respect for a story that is all too often forgotten.

The Founder

Ever wondered how one the worlds biggest franchises’ came into being? Well, here’s your chance to find out.

Image result for the founder

Salesman Ray Kroc has hit an all time low; he’s selling milkshake machines without much success, and a limited market. 

Whilst on the other side of the country, brothers Mac and Dick McDonald have success written all over their new business; a fast food restaurant delivering food to its consumers in less than 30 seconds – a revolutionary first for the 1950s. 

These two worlds collide when the McDonald brothers decide to order a number of milkshake machines from Mr.Kroc; a partnership that made history in more ways than one, and continues to rake in money even today as part of the business giant that is the McDonald’s empire.

The cast for this biopic is stunningly star-studded, with Michael Keaton taking the helm as Ray Kroc, closely followed by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as the McDonald brothers. With very few laughs and plenty of drama it’s certainly a unique pleasure to find talent in such a limited acting style. 

In terms of screen time, all I can say is that it needs to be cut down, quite substantially. A strong calibre of acting talent can only take a film so far, and though the roles are accurately attained, the script is way too wordy to be a Hollywood phenomenon. Which means you may find yourself nodding off at some/quite a lot of points. 

Though the film is interesting enough to hold an audience, I can’t help but be disappointed in the overall final cut of the film, given the fact that Director John Lee Hancock has been responsible for some of my favourite films; including The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks, to name a few. 

Unfortunately, for me this film just doesn’t reach the same height of cinematic quality.

Hidden Figures

Three remarkable women struggle to get their voices and more importantly, their minds, heard in an era where everything is against them, including the colour of their skin.

Related image

In 1962 John Glenn was the first man to orbit the earth, but that wasn’t the only first for NASA or indeed the USA that year. Three African-American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson also made history by achieving the impossible; they were allowed to use their brains to accelerate the space race and break the stigma surrounding the civil rights movement in America.

True stories are often the hardest to depict on the big screen, for the simple reason that you must do the story the justice it deserves. Hidden Figures is not only a fitting immortalization of an awe-inspiring story, it is quite possibly one of the most powerful cinematic experiences one can behold, it is just a shame it was not in existence at the time it was needed.

No film can be a success without the triumph of its actors, and this film is no exception. It is rare that you find an actor that can fill a room with their presence alone, it is near impossible to find three in the same film. But Taraji P. Henson (Katherine), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy) and Janelle Monae (Mary) all perform with such ease that they send shivers down the spine.

1960s America is not the easiest of sets to compose and yet the production team have managed to create authenticity throughout. From intricately detailed costumes to cars that cast the mind back, every detail of this film has been thought of and executed to perfection.

Sully

A remarkable retelling of aviation history, but not a film for the nervous flyer. 

Related image

Tom Hanks brings to life the tremendous bravery and tenacity of Captain Sully as he steers his plane and his passengers away from danger and into the safety of the Hudson River in response to an unexpected bird strike. 

Director Clint Eastwood’s reconstruction of the dramatic events that took place on January 15th 2009 assumes a heavy scepticism from the aviation investigators about the truth regarding the necessity to land on the Hudson. Eastwood, clearly wanted this lack of faith in Captain Sully’s ability and judgement to stand at the forefront of the plot, in what I imagine was a bid to ensure that this aspect of the incident was made publicity aware.

Apart from the films predictable acting talent, the CGI and fact-finding evidenced throughout the production is enough to make you think you are witnessing an over-budget documentary.

A biopic as honestly portrayed and publicly available as this one, is not only hard to come by, but also a pleasure to behold due to the level of craftsmanship injected into it.

Bleed for This

Boxing has never looked more painful.

Image result for bleed for this

From the biographical tales of Vinny Pazienza, Miles Teller takes on the lead role in a biopic that is sure to have you wincing in your seats, as you see the boxing mongrel recover from a career debilitating injury to a world-champion in less than a year.

Though the plot is filled with triumphant bravery and ambition, it does at times seem to lag in parts, almost making it seem anticlimactic and predictable. And while the acting talent is rife, but not necessarily popular, even the likes of Aaron Eckert and Miles Teller cannot save this film from its deplorable production which makes the two hour feature film feel like a life sentence that will never end.

Director, Ben Young, may not have the best editing team to boast about, but the design team, at the very least, have nailed the medical props needed to create the films authenticity, without making the sets feel overly complex. From the Halo brace worn by Teller for a vast majority of the film, to the props placed in his room following the procedure that aids his recovery, the credibility of the props remains very much apparent and relevant throughout.

This film is unlikely to win any awards and yet, nonetheless, there is some hidden gems within this biographical adaptation that almost makes you forget about what seems like a buffering plot.

A Street Cat Named Bob

A ginger cat with a big heart helps a recovering drug addict back on the path to reality. 

Image result for a street cat named bob

After spending most of his adult life on the streets, busking, James is ready to put his drug addiction to rest and start afresh. With the help of his social worker James bags himself a housing association flat and discovers his partner in crime to be, in the form of a furry feline friend known as Bob. 

Taken straight out of the pages of James Bowen’s bestselling memoir, this film manages to hit you where it hurts as you slowly fall in love with characters who you would ordinarily dismiss. And with this being actor Luke Threadaway’s (James) first feature film, the acting is actually surprisingly wonderful, which only adds to the main characters already lovable persona.

But it’s not just the humans that are making an impression in this film, as it turns out the cat himself is more than qualified to pull off this extraordinary story. Perhaps because the cat actor used for the films duration is none other than the real-life Bob himself, which is potentially why he is always so character-ready.

With homeless cat films being a rarity, I think that Director Roger Spottiswoode did a remarkable job in orchestrating such a tragically unique page to screen adaptation, and I would certainly recommend giving it a go, if not only to see the relentless cuteness of Bob’s onscreen charisma.