Sunday, 8 February 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Title:                                 Kingsman: The Secret
                                          Service (15)
Release Date (UK):          29th January 2015
Director:                           Matthew Vaughn 
Starring:                           Colin Firth, Taron 
                                          Egerton, Michael Caine
Duration time:                  129 minutes

Gary "Eggsy" Urwin (Taron Egerton) hasn't had the best upbringing. He lives on a rundown council estate with his mother, her abusive boyfriend and his younger sister. After a bad decision results in him being jailed, he is offered the opportunity by Harry Hart (Colin Firth) to change his life around and to train as a replacement agent for recently murdered agent Lancelot. 

My Review
This has been, hands down, the best film I have seen in a long time. Such a fantastic watch, and such a fantastic debut for Taron Egerton.

Now - any film starring Colin Firth is a must see for me and I can wholeheartedly say that he did not disappoint in this film. He was brilliant, as was everything else about this movie. Taron Egerton did a fantastic job in the role of Eggsy and I loved his portrayal of a character who hasn't had the best upbringing but also won't let that affect who he is as a person. I absolutely loved the mentor/student chemistry that Egerton and Firth displayed and I also loved the chemistry between villain Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) and his assistant Gazelle (Sofia Boutella). 

I absolutely love spy films as I find them totally mind-blowing and this was no different. I thought the plot and the characters were very unpredictable and I loved the comedy aspects of this film - I found myself hysterically laughing every few minutes (also loved the reference to the students of St Andrews, haha!). 

I think what made this film different to any other was the diversity. Sophie Cookson plays the part of Roxy, the lucky candidate who ends up replacing Lancelot after competing in the final two against Eggsy. Kingsman has never had a successful female candidate and although she does come from a traditional background unlike Eggsy, I think it's great that there was some female power even though there weren't many female characters. I also liked the message behind this film that was that you shouldn't let your background or your upbringing determine who you are as a person, just like Eggsy didn't. 

The only thing I didn't like about this film was the violence as I don't do violence but this is probably just a personal thing and violence was to be expected with the rating and genre of the film.

Overall, I'd rate this film a 4.5/5.

Chloe x

Friday, 30 January 2015

The Theory of Everything (2015)

Title:                                 The Theory of
                                          Everything (12A)
Release Date (UK):          2nd January 2015
Director:                           James Marsh
Starring:                           Eddie Redmayne, 
                                          Felicity Jones, Tom Prior
Duration time:                  123 minutes

Directed by James Marsh, The Theory of Everything tells the story of celebrated scientist Stephen Hawking (portrayed by Eddie Redmayne). As a graduate doctoral student at the university of Cambridge, he found himself becoming one of the leading minds of his generation and finding love in Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). However, Stephen is diagnosed with ALS quite early on, a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and due to this, Stephen finds himself becoming less able to control his own body. Jane continues to care for him but as time goes on, she begins to feel less like his wife and more like his carer. The pair both develop feelings for other people. Stephen, a woman named Elaine (Maxine Peake) who is hired to care for him and Jane, a man named Jonathan (Charlie Cox) who she meets after joining the church choir. 

My Review
The hype revolving this film was too big, I couldn't not see this film. I can wholeheartedly say that it exceeded my expectations, after taking some convincing to watch it. I hadn't much knowledge on Stephen Hawking other than the fact he was diagnosed with ALS at an early age and so didn't really see much point in me seeing the film. However, I had heard from so many people in person, and on many social media platforms that Eddie Redmayne's performance as Stephen was phenomenal and after reading up a bit on the life of Stephen Hawking, I decided to give it a go.

I can't believe this film was 2 hours long, I mean, it really did not feel much longer than an hour it seemed to fly by. I was so fascinated by the movie and there was not a moment I found myself being bored by what was happening in the film. 

I don't really have much to say about this film as it truly did leave me speechless, but anybody who hasn't seen it already definitely should! Such a moving, inspiring film.

Chloe x

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Whiplash (2015)

Title:                                   Whiplash (15)
Release Date (UK):            16th January 2015
Director:                             Damien Chazelle
Starring:                             Miles Teller, J.K.
                                            Simmons, Melissa
Duration Time:                  107 minutes

Andrew Nieman (Miles Teller) wants nothing more than to be the greatest jazz drummer the world ever did see. He is a first year student at Shaffer Conservatory of Music, otherwise known as the best music school in the USA. However, being a student at this school means being taught by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) who does not hold back when it comes to abuse towards his students. He is determined to push every single student to achieve what is beyond their limits, as he doesn't see the point in being average. What is the point in being average when you can be the best you possibly can be? When Andrew is asked to join Fletcher's band, he is taken by surprise. By being part of this band, Andrew quickly learns that Terence never settles for anything less than the best and he pushes and pushes and pushes. Regardless of the abuse he receives from Terence, Andrew is determined to be the best and never gives up. He practices and practices until he physically bleeds and sweats to death. He meets a girl who he takes a liking to, Nicole (Melissa Benoist), but the relationship doesn't last long when Andrew believes Nicole will hold him back and he will never be able to be the best jazz drummer in the world. After showing up late to a competition and forgetting his drum sticks, Andrew is walking on a thin line and eventually loses it and launches himself at Terrence. This results in him being expelled from Shaffer. He is approached by a lawyer who encourages him to speak up about his experience as Fletcher's student. He does so, which results in Fletcher losing his job at Shaffer. A while later, Andrew watches Terrence play one night and after being spotted by Terrence, is invited to play at an upcoming festival with the same songs he learned at Shaffer. However, Terrence finds out it was Andrew who was the cause of him being kicked out of Shaffer and he deliberately adds another song into the setlist at the festival knowing Andrew does not know the song and will humiliate himself in front of a critical audience. Andrew wishes to prove Terrence wrong and plays over Terrence with a solo and cues the rest of the band in for the song which he does know.

My Review
"Whiplash" came under one of my most highly anticipated movies of 2015, and it did not let me down one single bit. The relationship between Andrew and his petrifying instructor created great euphoria inside me. I loved the intensity of both the drumming and the relationship we see between Terrence and Andrew from very early on in the film and after finding out that Miles Teller did all of the drumming himself in this movie, I am 110% impressed. I also love that this film, while centring around a jazz band, focuses purely on the art that is drumming as I feel drumming is a musical talent that is highly under appreciated. 

This is the first piece of work of director Damien Chazelle (this being his second feature film) that I have seen and he did absolutely bloody amazing! He created such a tense relationship between Teller and Simmons all while creating a humorous tone as well, with such snappy and sarcastic lines given to Simmons

Now, anybody who knows me will know that I am insanely in love with Miles Teller and I have seen every movie that he has had a major role in so when I heard he was starring in "Whiplash" I was excited beyond belief. I was excited even more when I read up on the plot and the character he would be playing. J.K. Simmons is absolutely fantastic in his role of Terrence Fletcher and the on screen chemistry that Simmons and Teller show is brilliant. 

I found parts of the film to be very tense as there is emphasis on Andrew Nieman's dedication towards drumming, shown through the blood and sweat we see on screen. One thing I found particularly off putting was the amount of swearing there were at times, but that's possibly just a personal issue as I'm not a huge fan of swearing especially when it comes to films. 

Overall, I give this film a 5/5 rating.

Chloe x

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Cyberbully (2015)

Title:                            Cyberbully            
Release Date:             15th January 2015 (Channel 4)
Director:                      Ben Chanan
Starring:                      Maisie Williams
Duration Time:            Approximately 1 hour

The Channel 4 thriller "Cyberbully" which aired in the UK on 15th January 2015 was designed to make internet users - mainly teenagers - think about their actions online. The TV film tells the story of a girl named Casey Jacobs (Maisie Williams) whose life is essentially tracked online and quite literally, through her webcam. The film starts when a very personal tweet about Casey is posted from the account of her ex boyfriend, Nathan. Her best friend Megan suggests that Casey gets revenge on Nathan by hacking his Twitter account with the help of a guy named Alex. Little do we know, Alex turns out to be another hacker who appears to be keeping tabs on Casey's life through the use of the internet. He has access to everything - the topless photos she sent to Nathan when they were together, evidence of her harassing former fellow school pupil, Jennifer Li, and videos she made in which harsh comments are made about other people. He begins to speak to her under Alex's name, and threatens to release the topless photos unless she does as he says. While Casey is being tortured by the secret hacker, he really just wants to teach her a lesson. He claims to help other victims of cyberbullying by reaching out to the bullies and teaching them that this is not okay. Casey doesn't understand this as she believes she is being bullied too by this guy, and this provokes some serious thinking from the audience - is Casey the cyberbully or the victim of cyberbullying? Casey tries to deal with the hacker on her own, by trying to negotiate in order to stop her topless photos and videos being released.

My Review
This film proved to be a real eye opener for me. It's target audience seemed to be teenagers - of which I am - and I really think it provided an insight into just how dangerous the internet can be. If any TV film is to be shown in schools to give warning to teenagers, it surely has to be this one. While parts of it were creepy, and one part was supposed to be a jump scare (I did not find it all that scary, to be honest) I think teenagers of all ages could learn an important lesson.

I have not watched "Game of Thrones" (I know, what a crime!) and hadn't seen her in any other role prior to this but I have just checked her IMDB page and there is no way she is 17?! I'm 17 and that puts a lot of things into perspective. I often find myself cringing at the acting in these kinds of TV films but I thought Maisie's acting was insane. She carried the one hour weight of the film on her shoulders and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It wasn't predictable at all, and I honestly had no idea about what was coming around the corner. 

"Cyberbully" did give me chills and did terrify me - the thought that someone could hack into any computer that easily does frighten me. I am so carefree on the internet, I mean, I'm hiding behind a computer screen so how could anyone possibly know it's me? I think that's the attitude that many people have but this film proved me wrong. 

I think the message at the very end of the film was very powerful. Casey eventually, after talking to the hacker for the duration of the film which takes place in real time, decides to stop speaking to him. She closes her computer down and the bully becomes nothing. This is a message that I think will help everyone being bullied in today's society - if you stop talking to bullies, they lose all their power and essentially become nothing. 

Overall, I rate this film 5/5. Excellent acting and a brilliant example of a situation that many people experience online nowadays!

Chloe x

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Into The Woods (2015)

Title:                               Into The Woods (PG)
Release Date (UK):        9th January 2015
Director:                         Rob Marshall
Starring:                         Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt,
                                        James Corden, Anna 
                                        Kendrick, Chris Pine,
                                        Johnny Depp
Duration Time:              125 minutes

Based off the hit musical, "Into The Woods" tells the tale of a number of fairytales, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. A baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) live in a village, next door to the Wicked Witch (Meryl Streep). They long to have a child but soon find out after a visit from the witch that there was a curse placed on their house which means the couple are unable to produce children. The curse was placed after the baker's father was spotted one night stealing 6 "magic" beans from the witch's garden, which meant a curse was placed on the witch meaning she was cursed with ugly looks after being warned by her mother not to let the beans be stolen. In return, she placed a curse on the baker's house, and once born, took the child the baker's mother was pregnant with at the time - Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy). There is, however, a chance to reverse the curse which the witch explains to both the baker and his wife. By midnight in three days time, the pair must have collected several items for the witch - "the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold". The baker sets off into the woods to acquire these items, and this is where the characters from the other fairytales come into play. Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) is sent to the baker's village by his mother (Tracey Ullman) to sell the cow as she has not produced milk for a very long time. Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) is in the woods visiting her Grandmother, and obviously owns the red cape the baker has set off to find. Rapunzel with her long hair as "yellow as corn" is being kept in a tower in the woods by the witch and has been for her whole life. Finally, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) owns the slipper which the baker requires and is passing through the woods one night whilst running from Prince Charming and the festival she so sneakily attended, without her stepmother's permission. Chris Pine and Johnny Depp play Prince Charming and the Wolf respectively. 

My review
For such a long film (for a PG rating, anyway), it seemed to fly over so quickly which is what I like about films, unless I really don't want them to end! I have such a weak bladder system and so every time I go to the cinema I end up needing to use the bathroom before the trailers even finish - despite having just been half an hour prior to this. It was exactly the same with this film BUT the film distracted my thoughts and I forgot I even needed to use the bathroom..weird, huh? However, I have read quite a few negative reviews about this film but most of the negative comments were regarding the duration time and the fact that the film has two "Happy Ever After"s, one of which was just halfway through the film.

Usually, I'm not a huge fan of musicals (besides Grease, Annie and Hairspray) but after seeing this musical, I am utterly obsessed and it made me realise just how great musicals truly are. There is an element of fun to musicals that many other films do not seem to contain, with all the feel good music and dancing. I have to say, however, this musical was a little different to your average musical. I'd say about 80% of the film was music but it wasn't the cheesy kind where everybody just bursts into song and dance. The music was used to tell majority of the story. I have been completely in love with the soundtrack for this film for the past week and you only have to look at my Spotify account to know that. My favourite songs from this musical have to be "Your Fault", "No One Is Alone" and the music used in the prologue for the film. Nobody understands how obsessed I really am!

Rob Marshall, the director, who directed both Annie and Chicago - two of the greatest musicals in my opinion - did a great job on this musical, or so I thought at least. I know this musical is based off the Broadway musical which had it's debut in the '80s but this was the first I'd heard of it, and I thought the plot was terrific. The way that the four fairytales all seem to link together is so cleverly thought up and I thought the musical was directed in a very modern way. 

The acting ability in this musical is incredible. Meryl Streep blew me away acting as the witch and I honestly believe she is amazing so I really was excited to see her in this film. I thought the child actors - Daniel Huttlestone and Lilla Crawford - in this film were amazing. It truly has been ages since I have seen such amazing performances from such young actors. I was a bit sceptical at first after hearing James Corden was amongst the stars of this film as I absolutely love James Corden as a comedian and what-not but I hadn't seen him act in anything prior to this except those few episodes of "Gavin and Stacey". I have to say, his performance was as incredible as the rest and I think he suited the role of the baker perfectly. Emily Blunt who played the baker's wife was also brilliant. I've seen her in several different roles now but I hadn't seen her play in a role like this so to me, her role was very interesting and I think she pulled it off wonderfully. Moving on to Anna Kendrick who plays Cinderella and whom I thought played the part magnificently. I have seen Anna in quite a few roles previous to this one, including her role in the 2012 musical "Pitch Perfect" (which, by the way, I am sososo excited for "Pitch Perfect 2" out later this year!) so I knew what to expect from her in this musical and she did not let me down. She is not how I pictured Cinderella to be like but I think she pulled off the part so beautifully and when I found out she was playing Cinderella in the film adaptation I was beyond excited. Unfortunately, we do not see an awful lot of Chris Pine or Johnny Depp in their roles which I was a bit disappointed about because I love Johnny Depp and his part of the big bad wolf was only part of the musical for about 2 minutes. However, overall the acting was outstanding. 

Overall, I rate this film a 4/5. 

Chloe x

P.S. I really hope you enjoyed my first ever film review, I really enjoyed writing it and I just know that this is something I am going to enjoy doing with my spare time as I really am an avid film watcher and book reader. I'd love to know your feedback in the comments below! Have a great day. X

Thursday, 15 January 2015

New Year, (literally) New Me

Hey guys! I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and New Year. It's been a while (nearly a year actually) and it was only recently that I decided that I no longer wanted to continue my beauty and fashion blog. It's not really who I am, nor do I have as big an interest in it as some others. I really didn't want my blog to go to waste so I thought, what could I do with my blog? So, I've decided to turn my blog into something I will enjoy and something I will get a kick out of doing - and that's where my idea for turning my blog into a place where I can ramble endlessly about films and books, something I really do have a passion for. I have deleted all my previous posts and am starting afresh. Here you can view film reviews, book reviews, and hauls and I really hope you do enjoy! Feel free to unfollow as I know this isn't what you signed up for, but it's something that will make me happy. Here's to a great 2015!

P.S. you can still follow me on Twitter: @haitherechloex and my buttons for all other social media sites are at the side of my blog!

Chloe x