Film Friday #258

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

I want to write this review with as few spoilers as possible since I managed to completely avoid everything except a couple of trailers before seeing The Force Awakens and I think it significantly increased my enjoyment of the film. Almost thirty years after the defeat of the Empire a powerful organisation known as the First Order attempts to control the Galaxy while the resistance under General Leia (Carrie Fisher) and backed by The Republic, tries to stop them. With the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) missing, the Force is out of balance and the resistance’s only hope is to track him down using a piece of a map hidden on a droid but The First Order is not going to let things go quite so easily and as a young scavenger (Daisy Ridley), a fugitive storm trooper (John Boyega) and a couple of familiar faces get drawn in, a new adventure begins. I’ll start by saying that I kind of expected The Force Awakens to be a total bust so I went in with pretty low expectations and found myself very pleasantly surprised. Not only does it look fabulous but the balance of action, drama and comedy is on point. I also thought not only the older more experienced cast but also the younger cast, which also includes Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver totally brought it. I loved Daisy Ridley’s Rey who brings us a new, strong female character to continue Leia’s legacy. I also appreciated the fact that instead of CGI-ing the fuck out of the alien characters, they maintained the look of the original films – just better. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan or just enjoy a bit of a sci-fi romp this is not to be missed. Fun times. 4/5

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When Jabba the Hut farts everyone better get out of the way

In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

In this recounting of the story that inspired Moby Dick, Chris Hemsworth plays Owen Chase, the first mate on a Nantucket whaling ship called The Essex. The ship is captained by George Pollard (Matthew Joy), hired for his family connections but lacking in experience of actually being in charge of such a large vessel. The two are immediately pitted against each other making for a tumultuous journey. If that wasn’t enough the whales are far and few between and greed and desperation drives the crew on a dangerous path that leads to tragedy. In the Heart of the Sea looks absolutely breathtaking but there’s a real lack of character development which stops it from reaching the heights it could have. There are some great moments of action but the build up feels like it takes an eternity and then once the main action has passed things really drag along. And then it doesn’t help that Hemsworth can’t quite carry his role and Cillian Murphy and even Tom Holland, who plays the youngest crew member, act circles around him and Joy. Watchable but ultimately forgettable. If you don’t get to see it in 3D I probably wouldn’t bother. 3/5

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One Direction’s latest video was breaking hearts all over the place

Begin Again (2013)

Keira Knightley plays Gretta, a singer songwriter who finds herself at a bit of a loose end after her boyfriend (Adam Levine) finds fame and leaves her for another woman. While reluctantly playing live at a friend’s (James Corden) gig she is spotted by Dan (Mark Ruffalo), who has recently been fired from the record company he started. When his attempts to convince his former partner to record Gretta’s album fail he decides they should record it independently at various outdoor locations around the city incorporating their sounds. As the two work together they get the opportunity to work on their demons together and Gretta in particular helps Dan reconnect with his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). It took me a long time to get around to watching Begin Again because of the terrible trifecta of Knightley, Corden and Levine. However I decided that Mark Ruffalo outweighed it. In the end I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this little love song to New York. Knightley is less annoying than usual, Ruffalo is as excellent as ever and the songs are actually really lovely. Better than expected. 3.5/5

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Dan was having trouble covering up his uncontrollable farting

Iris (2014)

This documentary explores the life of 93 year old interior designed turned fashion icon, Iris Apfel, who is known for her eclectic over the top style. I have to say that while I appreciate how Iris manages to put together the craziest things to create a coherent and beautiful look and I do enjoy a bit of a look into the fashion world I feel like I could have gotten everything I need to get from this in about 20 minutes. So after almost 90 minutes I found myself getting really quite bored. One soon starts to feel like Iris’s public facing persona is as put together as her amazing fashion creations and director, Albert Maysles never really gets under the surface of what makes her who she is. 2/5

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Coco Chanel just turned in her grave

 

18 Comments

  1. Your picture captions crack me up Abbi! I agree with you on Iris – what a beautiful but annoyingly shallow doc! Meanwhile Star Wars was so awesome.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you. Doing the captions is my favourite part. I started out loving Iris and then I just got bored because it was the same thing over and over again!

  2. Too bad In The Heart Of The Sea sounds disappointing but I’m glad you liked The Force Awakens more than you were expecting. 🙂 Rey rules! My daughter loves her. And that’s fine with me!! 🙂

    1. abbiosbiston

      If I have a little girl and she chooses Rey as a role model I will be thrilled!

      1. Yep! I’m thrilled. I’m loving all the strong female movie characters lately. It’s awesome. 🙂

  3. TFA was amazing…only at 4?? 🙂 Really fits in with the whole series. Cant wait to see it again! Is Mr. O. a SW fan or did he sleep thru that too?

    I really enjoyed Begin Again and I listen to some of those songs in the car all the time.

    Im interested in seeing ITHOTS eventhough I dont have high expectations for it.

    No desire to see Iris 😦

    1. abbiosbiston

      4 is a super high score for me. For me to give a 5 the film has to be one that gets added to my most favourite movies ever and while I loved TFA, I’m not sure that I would watch it 500 times. Mr O absolutely loved it. He was like a little kid.

      1. Good practice for u 😉

  4. MIB

    Good stuff as usual! 🙂

    “Star Wars” turned me into a 6 year-old kid again while the trailer for “…Sea” looked epic but bored me to tears, so the whole film would probably be a drag for me. 😦

    Anyway, Merry Christmas to you! 🙂

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thanks! I definitely felt a childlike glee watching The Force Awakens. And yeah In the Heart of the Sea is a bit of a drag.

  5. Hi Abbi, I ended up writing a super long post on Force Awakens complete w/ spoilers 🙂 I didn’t rate it but I’m thinking somewhere around 3.75/5 for me. It’s entertaining but it didn’t wow me overall. I do love Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, glad the casting worked as we’ll be seeing a lot more of those two. As for In the Heart of the Sea, it seems only good enough to rent.

    1. abbiosbiston

      I think there are definitely flaws but I got completely swept up in a way I usually don’t so I was willing to look past the overuse of happy accidents and the somewhat simplistic plot. When it comes to In the Heart of the Sea I’m not sure if there would be much to recommend it without the big screen 3D CGI.

  6. In the Heart of the Sea sounds so disappointing. And I’m agreeing with the Rey dressing up if I have a girl too.

    1. abbiosbiston

      It could have been better with some work on the pacing and better actors. Hopefully Rey will be as big of a heroine as Leia has been.

      1. Yeah that would be great 🙂

  7. Adam Driver’s hair! Like OMG wow. I was impressed with that. Plus he was badass all round. Pity to heart In The Heart of the Sea is so forgettable. Begin Again… I might check it out. I know how much you love Knightley, too.

    1. abbiosbiston

      His hair was so long! I saw another movie recently without the moustache so I’m less freaked out now. Hahaha!

      1. It was so thick and purdy and lovely and… I love long hair. I had to Google him with a moustache hahahaha! I have only seen him in Star Wars xD

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