Movie Review – Hotel Mumbai

TL;DR – This is an incredible, violent, and emotionally visceral film that will grab you in the first frame and not let go  

Score – I honestly don’t know how to score this.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Hotel Mumbai. Image Credit: Screen Australia.

Review

In a now previous life, I taught international relations to university students. This is a large discipline and one of the areas we looked at was terrorism, which happens to be one of the most pressing security issues in the modern world, or not, it’s complicated. All of this meant that when I walked into the theatre to review this film I thought I had a pretty good handle on what I was about to see, as I was quite familiar with the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, and well I could not have been more wrong.

So to set the scene, we open with a boat slowly making its way into one of the many harbours on the Mumbai shoreline. On the boat are eight well-dressed young men who could be there for work in the financial capital of India, but immediately you know that is not the case. Each of them carries a large duffel bag and they are listing to someone give them instructions, directing them to different landmarks across the city. Meanwhile, across the city everyone else is just going through their day as normal, Arjun (Dev Patel) is trying to get his dastaar perfect as he gets ready for work at the Taj Hotel, Zahara (Nazanin Boniadi), her husband David (Armie Hammer), and their nanny Sally (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) are arriving at the hotel after a long flight and everyone is racing to get the room ready for her as her mother is a VIP, and the hotel head chef Hemant (Anupam Kher) is just trying to work out how to get everything done in such a short time. None of them knows the hell that is heading for them.

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Movie Review – Call Me By Your Name

TL;DR – A beautifully films film, with a great cast, but the story does not always work for me

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – No

Call Me by Your Name

Review

So I have to admit this was a hard film to track down near me, which is why this review is quite late compared to many others, however, after an hour trip into town I finally got the chance to give Call Me By Your Name a watch. Well as my father never says, better late than never, so let’s dive into the world of the Italian countryside in the 1980s.

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Movie Review – Cars 3 & Lou

TL;DR – It starts really formulaic but then it hits you right in the feels

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

P.S. – There is a post credit scene

Cars 3

Review
Cars have always been the odd one out of the Pixar films, some found the cartoon cars charming, others heralded it the beginning of the end of Pixar, for me I just found them to be ok, nothing more, and nothing less, the Thor’s of the Pixar catalogue. So it has been six years since Cars 2 a movie didn’t end up seeing because, to be honest, it didn’t sound all that good. This led to a bit of apprehension before seeing Cars 3, was it a chance for Pixar to show that they had learned from their mistakes, or was this just simply another toy cash grab, because Cars merchandise has been a real boon for Disney. Well, can it be both?

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Movie Review – The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

TL;DR – While not the best movie I have seen this year, it’s full of charm and a lot of fun, well worth a look

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Review

 

Before I start I should mention I have not seen the source TV show, unlike Get Smart, MASH or Hogan’s Heroes etc. it just did not get a lot of reruns on TV where I live, so I no idea if this is a faithful adaption or not, on a side note can you imagine how bad a remake of MASH would be, so I am just judging on what I saw in the movies.

 

 

Henry Cavill shows that he has charisma

Henry Cavill shows that he has charisma. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

 

The basic premise for the film is that the world is in the middle of the Cold War, and Europe is divided between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. However, a new threat is rising (or an old threat is resurfacing, the movie needed to be more clear on this) that has forced the two enemy’s the USA and the USSR to work together. As far as settings go, it’s a pretty good one, it allows you to create tension easily among the characters, but it also allows you to revel in the 1960s and all its charm.

This is a film that if the two leads didn’t work, then the rest of the film would be a total mess. Thankfully this is not the case. Henry Cavill is great as the American agent Napoleon Solo, even if that is a ridiculous name for a character. Napoleon, is a womaniser, a conman and a thief, but at the same time, he has a sense of composure that fits his character well. The real stand out for me is Armie Hammer as the Soviet agent Illya Kuryakin, he has a charm I was not expecting and also a physical presence unmatched by the rest of the cast. He also has an understandable motivation for everything he does. Together both Cavill and Hammer help drive the film and give the movie a lot of its strength. Alicia Vikander works well as Gabby Teller, a mechanic from East Berlin caught up in the villain’s plot, and the rest of the supporting cast works quite well, with special mention to Elizabeth Debicki who give the main villain Victoria Vinciguerra a sense of power and importance.

 

From the sets, to the locations, to the costumes, everything screams the era

From the sets, to the locations, to the costumes, everything screams the era. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

 

While the casting is quite good another key aspect of why the film works is the style it uses throughout. The production design is really quite spectacular, they really work hard to recreate 1960s Europe and it is a lot of the small touches that ground the film. There is a really good use of sound, using the lack of music, or the lack of sound effects to give a scene heightened tension. Also, it was nice to see at times the use of zooms and pans (CGI-assisted of course) to help give a sense of geography in the big fight scenes. It today’s tendency to cut to a new shot every second, taking that moment to let you know where everyone is, is kind of refreshing.

While this is a good film there are some things that don’t quite work. Generally, the special effects are quite good but there are a couple of shots that really do look like CGI. The story needed a little work, like a lot of Guy Richie films (see Sherlock Holmes) the story tends to lack a sense of scope which they then try to make up for with character interactions and stylish filmmaking which is good, but it would also be nice to have an in-depth story as well. Also as this is an origins type of film, it does feel like they have held back a bit so as to leave room for a sequel and some of the pacing at the start is a bit off.

 

Even the geopolitics of the time work out

Even the geopolitics of the time work out. Image Credit: Warner Bros.

 

Look this is not going to be my favourite film of the year, but the tone is spot on, the characters are compelling, the action is good, and overall it is an enjoyable 2 hours. With this in mind, I recommend The Man from U.N.C.L.E. even if United Network Command for Law and Enforcement is once again a really silly name.

 

Directed by – Guy Ritchie
Screenplay by – Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram
Story By – Jeff Kleeman, David Campbell Wilson, Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram
Based onThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. by Sam Rolfe
Starring – Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Jared Harris, Luca Calvani & Hugh Grant
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Ireland: 12A; NZ: M; UK: 12A; USA: PG-13