The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill And Came Down A Mountain: Looking For Love In Wartime Wales

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Two cartographers, played by Hugh Grant and Ian McNeice, visit a small Welsh town during World War 1 to measure local features, one of which is a large land mass that the locals say is a mountain -however the cartographers think is a hill. Hijinks ensue.

I think you can’t go wrong with young Hugh Grant, maybe Four Weddings but hey that was a fluke. Grant is at his charming best here and plays the tongue tied English man who of course falls in love with a local Welsh woman, played by Tara Fitzgerald, with gusto. You really end up caring about the central relationship but not perhaps as much as you do for the wider community who come together to turn there hill into a mountain. This is a community that has been ripped apart by war and suffering and to see them all come together to try and save their mountain is honestly heart-warming. There are a few moments wherein the sentimentality does feel a little sappy and American but for the most part the heart is just right.

One thing I would note is that it is pretty poor that none of the leading roles are actually lead by Welsh actors. The three leads are Irish and English. Now I am not going to go on a big rant about representation, but it is quite poor that they couldn’t have got an actual Welsh person for this film.

Overall, Welsh representation aside this film is a heart-warming delight.  

Pros.

The romance

The emotion

The ending

It is a lot of fun

Grant

Cons.

The lack of Welsh actors

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Northman: A Viking Life For Me

5/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Amleth, played by Alexander Skarsgård, is a Viking prince who after losing his family and his kingdom goes on an epic quest for revenge.

Honestly this may be Robert Eggers best film, now I love the VVitch it is my second favourite film of all time, but I do think this film gives it a run for its money.

There is something so original and fresh about this film, you have never seen anything quite like it before, there are notes of Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising but even then not quite. This is not a revenge film as you would expect it, this is not a Viking film as you would expect it, this film takes different elements from several different genres and blends them together to create something new and abstract.

The abstract elements of this film, where things go noticeably strange, are just fantastic. Not only are they visually distinct and interesting but they are shot in such a beautiful way that they become burnt into your minds eye.

The characters are of course terrific Skarsgård is a capable lead, but I would say he is outpaced by both Nicole Kidman and Anya Taylor-Joy who both give masterful performance that will stay with you. I thought the twist with Kidman’s character worked perfectly and superbly steered the film towards its final act. My favourite performance of the film was probably Willem Dafoe’s jester/mystic character who thought he was only in it for a few brief scenes is a lot of fun.       

Overall, a must see.

Pros.

The epic scale

The battle scenes

The abstract elements

The performances

The ending

Cons.

None

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Operation Mincemeat: The Most Shocking Hand Sex Scene In The History Of Cinema

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A daring tale of WW2 espionage is ruined by a ham fisted love triangle that becomes distracting.

Before seeing this film I was excited the event this is based on is fascinating. For those of you who don’t know Operation Mincemeat was a British military plan whereby a corpse was floated ashore in Spain carrying false papers in an effort to convince the Axis powers that the Allies were going to attack Greece instead of Sicily. At the time the plan was deemed incredibly risky and is now viewed as one of the greatest feats of espionage ever. That premise sets this film up to be a good war time thriller, however, the focus is not on the operation itself really at all instead it focuses on the personal lives of the characters.

Colin Firth, Kelly MacDonald and Matthew Macfadyen, the three sides of the love triangle, all give good performances. The performances of those involved is not the problem, what is a problem however is the fact that the love triangle between these three actor’s characters becomes of greater importance to the plot than anything else. I thought it was entirely needless.

Moreover, during the Spain sequence there are these incredibly random sex scenes that just sort of come out of nowhere and feel weird. I don’t know if they are done in reference to real things that happened and were included for authenticities sake, but if they weren’t what are they doing in the film? The hand-job scene in particular had everyone in my showing of the film looking at each other in shock and confusion asking why this was happening?

Overall, though the film was very watchable and had good performances for the most part, the focus is in entirely the wrong place.

Pros.

It is watchable

Strong performances across the board

When they actually talk about the plan it is interesting

Cons.

The love triangle

The sex scenes

It has awful pacing

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Against The Ice: The Bleak White North Of Greenland

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

An expedition to Greenland soon turns into a life or death struggle for two men, played by Nikolaj Coster- Waldau and Joe Cole. Based on the 1909 true story.

I think this film is a remarkable tome to the human condition, both Coster-Waldau and Cole are  giving it their all and you can really feel it in their performances, from the beginning both sink into their characters so completely that you forget that you are watching a film.

Moreover, the film maintained a strong sense of tension throughout, there were multiple moments where, pardon the trite overused phrase, I was on the edge of my seat. I thought the film for the most part was deeply enthralling and kept you engaged throughout, this was helped along by you caring about the fate of the explorers.

My main issue with the film was that though for the most part it did a good job of keeping you interested there was significant pacing issues resulting in slow moments that hurt the film broadly and that tested your interest in it, regarding this there are also a number of sub-plots that could have been cut down to save time as they really don’t add much of anything.

Overall, an interesting film that is dragged down by some aggressive pacing issues.

Pros.

Coster-Waldau

The tension

You care about the characters

Cons.

The pacing

It overstays its welcome

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain: Cats Becoming People.

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

From watching the trailers for this film I didn’t really know what to expect. It looked strange and abstract and it is and in that is the films’ greatest success. This is indeed a quirky and an odd film and one that you aren’t likely to see again this year, and by doing that it becomes memorable.

This film is a who’s who of British acting talent and has more than a few familiar faces, everyone does a good job and the acting across the board is strong. Cumberbatch is a superb leading man and from his portrayal you really buy the eccentricity of Wain and also the suffering and the loss. Cumberbatch’s performance is transportive. Likewise Claire Foy is also excellent here and her and Cumberbatch have really strong chemistry that really helps to propel the early parts of the film.

My main negative of the film was that it was incredibly depressing and hard to watch at times. Yes, I know this film was based on Wain’s real life and there is nothing you can do to change that or how it was. It being sad and depressing is true to life. However, it is in that where for me at least the film became hard to watch. The trailers which made the film look feel good were almost certainly misleading, this film is upsetting.

Overall, a quirky film with oodles of personality but one that some might find too sad to watch.

Pros.

Foy

Cumberbatch

The personality and charm of the film

Cons.

It is very sad

Pacing issues

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

House Of Gucci: Can The Kids Look Up From Their Phones To Watch This, Honestly Probably Not

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The infighting within the Gucci family

I will preface this review by saying I am exactly the sort of person that Ridley Scott doesn’t like, one of those kids today that will happily watch a film on their phone, however I showed up to both of his film’s this year and I have to say honestly The Last Duel was better.

I think the biggest thing that didn’t work for me here were the performances. Far from being worthy of award both the leads were fairly awful. Lady Gaga’s character was supposed to be likeable and then get progressively worse over the course of the film in terms of morals, at least that’s what I got from the trailers, but that wasn’t the case she started out deeply unlikeable and clearly badly intended from the beginning and only got worse, her character was deeply one note. Worse yet, Adam Driver plays two completely different characters here, yet you would never know. The first half of the film his character seems nice and fairly unassuming and then bang.. he just changes at the midpoint to be cruel and mean and entirely unlike how we have seen him so far, why? Because the story needs him to, it reeks of bad character work.

Jared Leto isn’t as bad as you might have heard, but that is not to say he is good either.

The only reason this film didn’t get lower is because it has a strong soundtrack of memorable hits and good performances from Al Pacino and Jeremey Irons, those three things are enough to keep the film watchable if nothing else.

Overall, a disappointment also there was no need for this to be on for well over two hours it was in no way an epic.

Pros.

Irons and Pacino

The soundtrack

Cons.

Gaga

Driver

The runtime is oppressive

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Power Of The Dog: What Did That Horse Do To Him?

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Phil Burbank, played by Benedict Cumberbatch berates those around him for a few hours in a period setting.

To me this film embodied everything wrong with arthouse cinema. It is pretentious, it thinks it is deeper than it actually is, and none of it really leads anywhere it just a series of scenes spaced out with rants from Cumberbatch.

Honestly I found this film hard to watch as it was so slowly paced that it almost put me to sleep. Really the only interesting part of this film was seeing must how unlikeable Cumberbatch’s Phil could become and seeing how sinister he could get.

Moreover, if you like animals this may not be the film for you as there are a number of scenes where Phil is cruel to animals, and it can be distressing and hard to watch. I understand why the filmmakers choose to include these scenes, to show just how evil Phil is, but they can’t shake this overwhelming sense of needlessness.

Overall, Cumberbatch is good but the film as a whole is boring, hard to watch and far from what it thinks it is.

Pros.

Cumberbatch

It is interesting to watch Phil devolve

Cons.

It is overly pretentious

It is boring and far too long

Scenes of animal cruelty that feel needless  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Last Duel: The Horrors Of The Female Experience

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Two medieval feudal lords come to blows over a series of injustices.

This film is incredibly hard to watch. It is deeply hard to get through as it features a number of rape scenes which are increasingly graphic. Though I don’t know the need to be as graphic as the film chooses to be with them, I do think that using them in the narrative this film creates is a good thing as it sets up an important conversation about accountability and the mistrust of female victims when they come forward.

In many ways the film is incredibly powerful as it makes us reflect on the female experience and at how throughout time men have abused their positions and powers within society. There are some lines in this film particularly during the third chapter which is the truth of events from Marguerite’s, played by Jodie Cormer, point of view which are incredibly harrowing and show just how deep the injustice goes.

I thought Jodie Cormer was terrific here and her performance carried serious weight. Sadly, however she was let down by her co-stars, who ranged from underused to miscast. Yes, I am referring to Matt Damon who is by far the worst performer in this film. To make matters worse this film is set in France yet everyone has an American or British accent which is not only distracting but irritating and feels done because an executive thought ‘oh American audiences can’t understand a French accent or won’t read subtitles. With the idea that the actors also didn’t want to have to either learn French or try and do an accent also a likely possibility.

Overall, a powerful film in many ways but one that you would never want to watch twice.

Pros.

The conversation it starts

Addressing male abuses of power

The female perspective

Cons.

Matt Damon

The American accents  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Hacksaw Ridge: Mel Gibson Should Make Films For PureFlix.

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

This film follows the life of army combat medic Desmond Doss, Andrew Garfield, as he serves during World War II without ever using a gun.

This was an incredibly uplifting film. Yes the violence and the death of war are grizzly and are on full display here, but underneath that is a story about a young man just doing what he thinks is right and saving lives, even when those same people call him names and abuse him for his beliefs.

I could have done without the constant religious framing of everything in the film, but hey it is a Mel Gibson picture so what do you expect? I understand the real life person this was based on was deeply religious and it is fundamental to the story, that is not what I am complaining about. What I am complaining about is the use of shots, to give an example the final shot of the film before it cuts to credits sees Doss being carried away on a stretcher, the camera is below and zooming out giving the impression that the stretcher is rising into the heavens- a saint ascending. This bothered me for two reasons one, the character doesn’t die and two, it is far too on the nose.  

Moreover, the writing in this film is not good at all. The opening scenes, not the ones when they are children but the ones which show Doss’s early courtship before he went overseas, are so painfully cringe that I almost had to skip through them. The line delivery is off by such a huge margin that I can’t place the blame solely at Garfield’s feet clearly something must have been bad in the script or even the direction.

That aside the performances for the most part were great across the board. I enjoyed Vince Vaughn as a drill sergeant and I thought once again Andrew Garfield shone brightly, proving his clear talent with ease.

Overall, a solid and uplifting war film.

Pros.

Garfield

It is inspiring

It doesn’t shy away from showing you the horrors of war

The ending

Cons.

The heavy handed religious metaphors

The dialogue and line delivery during the courtship scenes  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

71: Surviving The Troubles

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

This film follows Gary Hook, Jack O’Connell, a young soldier who becomes separated from his unit and finds himself having to survive the night in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

I enjoyed this film a fair bit, it kept me entertained throughout. I thought the film did a good job of maintaining its tension and it never allowed you to feel safe, or to feel like the character was safe, which also adds to the realism of the film.

In many respects this is quite a hard film to watch, there are a number of scenes that are very visceral and graphic and that will leave and impression on you afterwards. The sudden and random death of Hook’s fellow soldier early in the film being one of them, in many ways it perfectly manages to capture the murky and unpredictable nature of that part of Irish history.

Moreover, Sean Harris as the morally dubious covert intelligence officer Captain Browning is a revelation. Harris always shines through whatever he appears in and adds an uncertain edge to proceedings. I would say he comfortably out acts O’Connell here, with the latter’s rough boy charm sometimes clashing with the character he is trying to portray. For example when Hook is taking his younger brother out for the day he becomes very angry at the doorman for no explained reason, this doesn’t work when later in the film he is portrayed as the ordered and controlled soldier who would never lose his temper in a yobish sort of way. It becomes a clashing personality over the film.

Overall, a good film though more character work was needed with the construction of the lead, a fixed personality was needed rather than one that jumps around.

Pros.

Harris

The tension

Not knowing what was going to happen next

Cons.

O’ Connell

A few plot threads that are unanswered and also go nowhere

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer