Allied (2016) Movie Review

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Allied tells the story of World War II operatives Max & Marianne, portrayed by Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard respectively, who fall in love on a mission and decide spending the rest of their lives together is something they’d like to experience. When Max finds out a suspicious tip about his beloved wife, doubt creeps into their relationship and we’re left wondering, what will happen now? The film also stars Lizzy Caplan, Jared Harris and is directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back To The Future, Forrest Gump).

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Marion Cotillard is absolutely divine in Allied, it’s just a shame the actual film does not live up to the amazing performance she’s giving. From the moments where her character is at the pinnacle of happiness to the scenes that call on her raw emotion, Cotillard’s talent is showcased beautifully in the film. Brad Pitt, on the other hand… I truly think he was asleep for most of the production, I was not a fan of his portrayal of a man who is faced with the most important decision he will (potentially) ever make in his life.

Occasionally it felt like he was deciding what to put on his Subway sandwich moreso than attempting to portray any type of emotion connected to the immense betrayal his character felt toward Marianne.

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Brad Pitt in ALLIED | Paramount Pictures

Due to his performance, it was a little bit difficult to feel any sort of intense chemistry or connection between the two, although there were certainly moments where their talents shone and you felt something for this couple. Lizzy Caplan also had a small role as Max’s sister and the few moments she was on screen were great. The other secondary characters were fine with no particular standouts.

The progression of the story was intriguing at times, the first act is actually set up really well; I enjoyed seeing Cotillard and Pitt’s characters attempt to develop some type of relationship together albeit she was light years ahead of him in terms of me feeling anything for either. The film’s various revelations that are made do serve the plot well, however because I had no connection with this couple, the revelations kind of made me think, “oh… Okay. That’s a nice way to further the plot.” There are also certain callbacks to the classic of all classics, the Michael Curtiz-directed Casablanca (1942) that I rather enjoyed… There is one major plot point that is a direct plot reference to the film that made me also think, “really?? Well… Okay then…”

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I had an issue with one particular aspect to it in terms of character motivation that I will spoil in the following sentence: SPOILER Max easily could have written down the message intended for Marianne, crumpled it up then flushed it down the toilet after they had sex so there would be no way for her to read it. We see his vehement denial of his wife being a traitor and he clearly doesn’t care about waiting for orders/using young pilots to do his dirty work, so it isn’t out of the realm of comprehension that he wouldn’t just say he wrote the letter and she possibly read it so if they don’t receive confirmation, then she isn’t a spy and he can live in happy ignorant bliss. END SPOILER

How Were The Other Aspects To ‘Allied’?

Allied is a beautiful looking movie, I will give it that. There are a number of shots directed masterfully by Zemeckis (surprise, surprise!) that are genuinely amazing. As a fanatical fan of period pieces, this film ticks all the boxes in terms of creating an atmosphere rich in decor, fashion and music. There is one sequence in which the incredible Goodman classic Sing, Sing, Sing plays throughout and caused some toe tapping on my end.

Zemeckis is one of my personal favourite directors of all-time and it is so frustrating to see a kernel of a fucking brilliant, intense idea being helmed by one of the Greats yet it just falls flat in terms of expanding on that kernel to create a compelling drama… We always have the prospect of Back To The Future IV though, right…? 😉

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If you’re looking for a beautiful-looking period piece with attractive individuals and an execution that is relatively meh, check out Allied.

Hungry For More Reviews? Check Out:


Allied receives 3/5 Matt Damon heads.

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sources: [1]

Happy 10th To Casino Royale! (2006)

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Ten years ago, a blonde-haired and blue-eyed Daniel Craig stepped into the role of the World’s Greatest Secret Agent, 007.
Otherwise known as Bond… James Bond, as he prefers to announce to the world.

Casino Royale marks the 21st entry in the Bond franchise and Daniel Craig‘s first ever stint as Bond. The last film to release prior to Royale was 2002’s Die Another Day, in which Pierce Brosnan made his final appearance as the Agent and also contains this scene:

The film stars Daniel Craig, the disgustingly beautiful and talented Eva GreenDame Judi Dench returned as the illustrious M, Mads Mikkelsen who portrays one of the best Bond villains in the history of the film franchise, Giancarlo Giannini, and is directed by Martin Campbell whose credits prior to Royale included the 1995 Bond classic, Goldeneye and both Antonio Banderas Zorro installments.

Wanting to have a gritty and dark reboot of this classic franchise with a younger, blonde-haired relatively unknown was met with some intrigue and a whole lot of disdain, as you will see further down…

Initial Hesitation For Craig As Bond

According to director Campbell, the beautiful Henry Cavill was in serious contention to take the role as Bond, however, since he was 22 at the time he was considered “too young” for the part.

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Thankfully we got to see a mix of Bond and Archer in Guy Ritchie’s Man From UNCLE (2015)

Other actors considered for the role included:

  • Sam Worthington
  • Dougray Scott 
  • Karl Urban
  • Hugh Jackman, who turned down the role due to his X-Men obligations.

“DanielCraigIsNotBond.Com”

On October 14th, 2005, Eon Productions, Sony Pictures and MGM announced at a grand press conference in London that English actor Daniel Craig, known for his roles in Elizabeth, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Layer Cake, would be the sixth actor to portray James Bond behind Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

Critics immediately came out of the woodwork when the announcement was made. People on the internet disagreeing about a casting decision?? My word! A website entitled DanielCraigIsNotBond was even created where disgruntled Bond fans aired their grievances about the new Bond. I will include some of my favourites below because they are just fantastic to read:

“Rough And Gritty Is Something I Have Never Associated With James Bond”…
Bruce Hammer
 of Blackwell, OK, USA writesRough and gritty is just something I have never associated with James Bond. When I think of James Bond, the adjectives that come to mind are suave, sophisticated, cool, cultured, and debonair. But rough and gritty? No way. I hate to see Pierce Brosnan leave the series. Goldeneye is the best Bond movie ever!


“I’m sure a blond could play James Bond, but not somebody who’s so ugly and
uncharismatic as Daniel Craig.”
Margie Appleton of Frankfurt, Germany writesI’m sure a blond could play James Bond, but not somebody who’s so ugly and uncharismatic as Daniel Craig. I remember him playing Ted Hughes in Sylvia, and that was a really awful performance. My suspicion is that he is just not a very good actor. So, if you’re not very good looking not a good actor, you shouldn’t be the new James Bond.

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“I predict Craig’s signing spells the demise of the Bond franchise.”
Annette Johnson of New York, USA writes:
 I predict Craig’s signing spells the demise of the Bond franchise. Everyone I know thinks he is stone ugly, and although he would make a great Bond villain, he doesn’t come close to personifying the handsome, intriguing, super-human good guy of all time. I own all the Bond DVDs, soundtracks, games, etc. I won’t pay a farthing for a ticket to see the new Casino Royale. My friends and family feel the same. How sad!”

Eva Green Cast As Bond Girl, Vesper Lynd

“… This character is very much an equal to Bond and central to our story.” – Columbia Pictures Chairman, Amy Pascal revealed regarding Green’s casting in 2006. 

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There is no doubt that many moviegoers favourite aspect to the gritty Bond reboot was Eva Green’s incredible portrayal of Vesper Lynd. Her performance elevated every single scene and the chemistry she shared with Craig was integral in the success of the film.

Although the Bond Girl started to develop more as the Bond franchise progressed, Green’s Vesper Lynd truly was an equal to Craig’s Bond and was a vital aspect to his character.

Ten years on and people still talk about the train sequence as well as one certain sequence involving a rope and… Something nobody on earth should think about, let alone experience…

The Torture Scene Heard ‘Round The World

“He manages to keep the upper hand, tied nude to a chair.” – [Director] Martin Campbell stated regarding the torture scene in the Casino Royale commentary.

Mads Mikkelsen is one of the best actors working in Hollywood today and his portrayal of Bond villain, Le Chiffre is up there with some of the finest antagonists ever portrayed on the big screen. The above sequence showcases just how insane Le Chiffre is and how far he will go in order to attain what he believes is his. It also works to illustrate the rawness and bad-assery of Craig’s Bond, who finds the time to chuckle during an immensely painful experience.

As someone who will never experience the pain of a whip whipping my balls, I can safely say I would not wish that on my worst enemy. Shit is fucked. 

The Subsequent (And Surprising) Box Office Success

Nobody expected Casino Royale to perform as well as it did, with all the controversy surrounding the casting and decision to take a darker turn with the beloved franchise, the film ended up garnering almost $600 million worldwide on a $150 million production budget.

The film became the fourth highest grossing film of 2006, behind the following:

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, $1.06 billion;
  2. The Da Vinci Code, $758 million;
  3. Ice Age: The Meltdown, $660 million;
  4. Casino Royale, $599 million;
  5. Night At The Museum, $574 million.

… And was the highest grossing Bond film of all time prior to Skyfall surpassing it in November 2012. Clearly Annette Johnson fired her film psychic following its release.

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M: You don’t trust anyone, do you?
James Bond: No.
M: Then you’ve learned your lesson.
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Cinematographer: Phil Meheux (Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro, The Smurfs)

I Will Leave You With This Question: What Is Your Favourite Bond Flick? Comment below and enjoy all the shaken, not stirred martinis your heart desires!

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2004)

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Violet Baudelaire: Dinner is served. Puttanesca.
Count Olaf: What did you call me?
Klaus Baudelaire: It’s pasta… Pasta Puttanesca.
Count Olaf: Where’s the roast beef?
Klaus: Roast beef?
Count Olaf: Beef, yes. Roast beef. It’s the Swedish term for beef that is roasted

Anecdote Time!

Back in the day, the Lemony Snicket book series, A Series Of Unfortunate Events was one of my absolute favourite things to read. During my elementary school years, we had a Book Club where we would spend our lunches with Mrs. Slack as she gobbled down her tuna sandwich and read from the first novel of the Series to… about the third or fourth one was where we left off and I went to Middle School.

I distinctly remember that fucking fish smell emanating from her mouth as she dramatically read the pages of the novel and I loved every single second of it.

When the film adaptation was announced and eventually came to theatres, I asked my mom if she would go with me to watch it because I was extremely keen to see how well the book would translate on screen. I was ten years old and giddy with excitement as we sat in our seats in an incredibly crowded theatre.

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As the trailers finished and the lights died down, the opening credits began which consisted of… An Elf… The Littlest Elf, to be specific. Were we in the wrong theatre? Does my mom think I punk’d her and she’ll have to watch a stupid happy elf prance around for an hour and a half??

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Confusion set in for about 50 seconds until the scene came to a dramatic halt and I heard Jude Law‘s deliciously velvety-smooth voice state,

“I’m sorry to say that this is not the movie you will be watching…”

And an enthusiastic smile came across my face as I watched with delight the unfortunate events proceed with fantastic child acting and Jim Carrey absolutely owning the role of Count Olaf…

So thanks, Mrs. Slack. I owe you a tuna sandwich, if we ever cross paths once more.


Starring: Emily Browning as Violet Baudelaire, Liam Aiken as Klaus Baudelaire, Jim Carrey as Count Olaf, Meryl Streep as Aunt Josephine and Jude Law as Lemony Snicket, dir. Brad Silberling.

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Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, Birdman, The Revenant)

Are You Planning On Checking Out The Series Of Unfortunate Events Netflix Series, Coming In January?

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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Zero: What happened?
M. Gustave: What happened, my dear Zero, is I beat the living shit out of a sniveling little runt called Pinky Bandinski, who had the gall to question my virility. Because, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from penny dreadfuls, it’s that when you find yourself in a place like this, you must never be a candy ass; you’ve got to prove yourself from day one. You’ve got to win their respect. You should take a long look at HIS ugly mug this morning… He’s actually become a dear friend.

Starring: Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave, Tony Revolori as Zero, Saoirse Ronan as Agatha, Adrien Brody as Dmitri, Edward Norton as Henckels and Jeff Goldblum as Kovacs, dir. Wes Anderson.

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Cinematographer: Robert Yeoman (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom)

Arrival (2016) Movie Review

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Based on the Ted Chiang short story “Story Of Your Life”, Arrival tells the story of twelve mysterious alien “Shells” landing across the Earth, with linguistics professor Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leading a team of elite U.S. military investigators to understand why they are here. It is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario) and also stars Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

The film places emphasis on Adams’ character and how she attempts to understand these extraterrestrial beings. Adams owns the role entirely, she had chemistry with virtually everyone. Her character arc is one of my favourite aspects to the film because it is explored immensely and as each scene progresses, you want to learn more about this woman and the way her mind works. The revelations she makes throughout the film are brought on logically and although there are certain instances where the jargon used would be exclusive to those groups, the film works it in in a way that doesn’t fly past one’s realm of comprehension.

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Forest Whitaker’s character works as a somewhat surrogate for the audience by asking the pertinent questions to move the story along and his insistence to move things along in order to appease the higher ups, I thought stayed incredibly true to a person in his position. Jeremy Renner was arguably the weakest part of the film. I really felt no connection to him and his comic reliefness plus the few quips he said here and there made me roll my eyes.

The secondary characters were all serviceable but there was one moment with a couple characters I just couldn’t believe occurred… I don’t wish to get spoilery with this review so I will just say, a major event unfolds that I wish was explored a bit more following it and/or some type of consequence for such a decision made.

The unfolding of events is one of my favourite aspects of the film. Every bit of progress made to communicate with these beings had me on the edge of my seat because I wanted to know what the hell they were trying to say! The final act does feature some quick conclusive moments because it felt like they needed to wrap everything up in a more rushed way than the first two acts were, however I was ultimately intrigued to the very end and forgive that wrap up since the overall picture was immensely enjoyable.

Every moment they were in the Shell dripped of suspense, I could feel my neck tense up during certain instances. This film is best to watch in a theatre because it is an immersive experience. (My Humble Opinion Alert) You really won’t feel the same awe and wonderment of it watching it on your couch on Netflix scrolling through reddit on your phone.

How Were The Other Aspects Of ‘Arrival’?

This movie is one of the most beautiful looking films of the year. Denis Villeneuve is a fucking mastermind behind the camera, as indicated by his entire filmography thus far, Prisoners being my personal favourite. If I had a dollar for every time I thought “wow… That is a gorgeous shot” or “wait, how did he film this?” I’d have like, a lot of money.

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The direction by Villeneuve is easily my favourite aspect of the film. There really are no issues with the directing as I found it essentially flawless. It is a slow-burning piece with an emphasis on its characters rather than the bombastic action-alien-killing-spree similar sci-fi films have, and with his direction & the focus on deliberately slow yet intriguing sequences shot really work to grip the audience.

The music is composed by Villeneuve regular Jóhann Jóhannsson, who also composed the aforementioned Prisoners and Sicario plus the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, and the score is incredible in Arrival. It is so atmospheric and the sounds coming off the screen is simply brilliant. Max Richter, the composer for the ridiculously spectacular HBO series The Leftovers, also has a contribution to the soundtrack with “On The Nature Of Daylight“, that man can genuinely do no wrong in my eyes.

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If you’re looking for a gorgeous-looking, slow burn of a sci-fi picture, check out Arrival.

Hungry For More Reviews? Check Out The Following:

Arrival receives 4/5 Matt Damon heads.

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sources used: [1], [2]

What Is Your Favourite Film Directed By Denis Villeneuve?

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Movie Review

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Desmond Doss played life on the hardest possible level and had a smile on his face the entire time… How is that even possible?

Hacksaw Ridge tells the incredible true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) as he enlists in the US Army during WWII. He also happens to be a conscientious objector and wants only to save the lives of his men rather than kill another human being. It is an addition to Mel Gibson’s insane directing filmography and also stars Teresa PalmerVince Vaughn, and Sam Worthington.


My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Hacksaw Ridge is the kind of movie where you discuss it with your peers hours after watching it. The first half of this film is a beautiful character piece on a simple man with firm beliefs as he woos the love of his life and struggles with enlisting as “killing” is essentially top priority in war and he holds the opposite belief of that mantra. The second half of this film is a brutal, graphic depiction of the Hacksaw Ridge battle in Okinawa during World War II and fucking hell, it was deliciously brilliant. The battle sequences in Hacksaw Ridge, particularly the very first one, rivals that of Steven Spielberg’s 1998 classic Saving Private RyanThat is how great they are.

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Speaking solely on the war sequence aspect of it, they are essentially flawless. Some emotional moments may have lingered a bit longer than I prefer however the second they hit Okinawa to the closing credits, the tension overpowered me at certain parts and the odds of victory were insurmountable. I had no idea who Desmond Doss was and what the battle for Hacksaw Ridge was so watching this battle was so enjoyable, regardless of the horrific violence occurring on screen. War is hardcore, man. Director Gibson does not shy away from the rawness of it and I appreciate it wholeheartedly.

Andrew Garfield is a revelation as Doss. This is easily the best performance he’s given in his career (in my opinion) and he owned every single moment he was on screen. I would not be surprised at all if he received an Academy Award nom for his portrayal as the real-life medic since his character is well acted and fleshed out, I felt an immediate connection with him and wanted to see his arc progress. The chemistry was phenomenal with not only his love interest, portrayed wonderfully by Teresa Palmer, but with every character he interacted with. Hugo Weaving was brilliant as Doss’ veteran father and Rachel Griffiths of Six Feet Under fame, AKA my personal favourite TV series of all-time, was equally wonderful. The secondary characters were all fine however I have to say, when I saw Vince Vaughn, all I could think of was “yup, that’s Vince Vaughn.” He wasn’t bad or anything, he was serviceable… It’s just certain insults he was delivering made me think he was his Wedding Crashers character undercover as a Sergeant.

I have to say, I didn’t expect the film to delve so deeply into the relationship between Doss and his future wife Dorothy as much as it did during the first half but I appreciate the decision for it. Besides his faith, Doss’ love for his wife was a major aspect to his character and if you didn’t feel as connected to her as he was, the entire second half would’ve been for moot. Thankfully, the relationship between the two is executed so perfectly and that connection is certainly achieved.

How Were The Other Aspects Of Hacksaw Ridge?

Mel Gibson’s direction is easily one of my favourite aspects of this film. He is a genius behind the camera and his ability to shoot the rawness and terror of war is simply beautiful. The “true story” aspect to it as well initially made me think, “hmm.. I’m pretty sure most of this succumbed to the Hollywoodization of the ‘Based On A True Story’ line, which is totally fine because it’s a movie and must be entertaining first and foremost”… However, in an interview with The Today Show Gibson mentioned (~3:55 of the link) another absolutely crazy thing Doss did in real life that they chose not to add to the movie because it would have been “so unbelievable”, as Gibson puts it.

After [Doss] gets the shrapnel and he’s carried off on a stretcher… He sees a guy who’s been shot and he jumps off the stretcher, tends to his wounds and says put him on the stretcher then he crawls back as he’s being shot at by snipers.

Clay Davis accurately sums up my feelings on the matter

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There are plenty of beautiful shots in the film with a few instances of musical usage that pulled on the heartstrings a bit, there is one particular sequence that actually uses no score whatsoever and instead all you hear are the sounds of war that is scarily effective. Small warning though: if you have a weak stomach, you may feel the need to close your eyes occasionally.

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If you’re a fan of brutal depictions of war and characters you want to actually care about, check out Hacksaw Ridge.

Hungry For More Reviews? Check Out The Following:

Hacksaw Ridge receives 4.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

damon1damon1damon1damon1damonhalf

sources used: [1], [2]

American Hustle (2013)

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Irving Rosenfeld: When you are offered a favour or money, take the favour, not the money. Jesus said that, didn’t he?

Starring: Christian Bale as Irving Rosenfeld, Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser, Bradley Cooper as Richie DiMaso and Jennifer Lawrence as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, dir. David O’Russell.

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Cinematographer: Linus Sandgren (Shelter, Joy, La La Land)