Review: Hacksaw Ridge (2016)


“I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe.”
– Desmond Doss

SYNOPSIS: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. – via IMDB


GRADE 8Man oh man, I have been looking forward to this one for a variety of reasons, the two biggest being Andrew Garfield and Mel Gibson. Yeah sure, Gibson has done some cuckoo things, but he makes really good movies, and I enjoyed him a hell of a lot as an actor. As for Garfield? I just adore the guy. He is a talented actor and cute as a button. So how did the pairing come

Hacksaw Ridge impressed me. It really did. It isn’t so much a war movie as a drama – but do not take that to mean that you will not get a super vivid, clear depiction of the war, because you will. More than an hour is spent setting up Doss’s character and experiences, and driving home what his morals are, and how he sticks by them. The second half shows what happened on Hacksaw Ridge, but never really more of the war. It is the story of one man, and it is an amazing story. I was truly awestruck by how insane the story was, but also how inspiring. I liked, too, that the movie was very detailed about Desmond Doss’s faith. It handled this in depth, but it never felt preachy. It never felt like the viewer was being lectured on faith. It simply told his story, and I really appreciated that. Nobody wants some holier than thou message being shoved down their throats.


I thought that Garfield was absolutely fantastic here. Really. He owned that role and I totally believed in his plight, and I was beyond impressed here. Garfield and Palmer also shared some great chemistry, and I must admit that I really liked watching them together. The score worked wonders, never overpowering, never being absent. The cast did a pretty good job, and visually the film was really nice to look at, and the camera was never overly shaky cam or too steady, making it impossible to watch, or too structured, and I think that worked in favour here.

Hacksaw Ridge managed to balance the nastiness and brutality of war, while still give us an inspiring story of a man, his faith, and what he wanted to do. Gibson did another good job here, proving to us once again that he is not afraid of getting to the nitty gritty of a film. I would say this movie is well worth a watch.

My recommendation? Skip the trailer and go straight into the movie.

Review: Never Let Me Go (2010)

never let me go movie stills

“You will become adults, but only briefly. Before you are old, before you are even middle-aged, you will start to donate your vital organs. That’s what you were created to do. And sometime around your third or fourth donation, your short life will be complete.”
– Miss Lucy

A medical breakthrough in 1952 has changed the world, changed the way people live, lengthening life spans, fostering longevity and health. But at what cost? In the 1970’s, Kathy H (Isobel Meikle-Small) attends Hailsham, a boarding school, with her best friend Ruth (Ella Purnell). Kathy becomes infatuated with a young boy that seems to be the social outcast. His name is Tommy (Charlie Rowe), and the two become very close. The three become rather close, though the school is strange and bizarre. The students are not taught math and science, but instead spend copious amounts of time on artwork which they will submit the best work to the Gallery, run by Madame (Nathalie Richard). Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins) joins the teaching staff, and she informs the students of their purpose in life: they are there to be harvested for organs. They will “complete” in early adulthood, which is just a nice way of saying they will die.

never let me go hearing the truth
“You have to know who you are, and what you are. It’s the only way to lead decent lives.” – Miss Lucy

Ruth manages to snatch Tommy away from Kathy, which hurts her, but life must go on. The three graduate from Hailsham and go live at the cottages, where they will live among other donors. Kathy (Carey Mulligan) feels very left out at the cottages, where the other students seem to have partners and lives, despite their fate. Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) are still in a relationship, with Kathy being the ever-present third wheel. From other former students, the rumours of “deferral” reach their ears, meaning that if a couple is in love and they can prove it, they can possibly get a short reprieve from starting to donate. Kathy, meanwhile, battles to deal with Tommy and Ruth and their sexual relationship, ultimately leaving to become a carer, someone who takes care of other donors and comforts them, meaning she will wait a while longer.

Shortly after leaving the cottages and starting her job, Tommy and Ruth break up. Kathy does not see Tommy or Ruth again, but a decade later comes across Ruth, who has gone through two donations and is not looking very good. The two spend some time together, and later meet up with Tommy, who is looking pretty good despite also having been through a couple of donations. Ruth apologizes to Kathy and Tommy for having kept them apart, and encourages them to seek the rumoured deferral so that they may actually have some time together, going as far as to provide them with an address for Madame. Tommy and Kathy spend more and more time together, though Tommy is getting weaker. He is immensely excited, working on his artwork, sure that it will prove that he and Kathy deserve the deferral, that they are destined to be together.

never let me go the beach
“It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed.” – Kathy

Will they be granted the deferral? Will they get to finally spend some time together, after always having loved one another? Has Ruth made up for her past regressions in time? What will Tommy and Kathy be judged on to earn the deferral? When will Kathy have to end her job as a carer and complete the purpose for which she was made?

never let me go deferral

GRADE 7This was a suggestion from Table 9 Mutant of Cinema Parrot Disco, who gave it to me an age ago (yes, yes), but I have a watch list that is ridiculously long and sometimes I really just need a kick to get to something. Well, she finally kicked enough and I got to it. Now, the story for this is something I expected rather soon in, I could see how the plot was going to move with that and what the point of the school and the children were. I thought that Kathy and Tommy were so cute together, and it was highly predictable that Kathy’s best friend, Ruth, would swoop in to usurp Tommy (women’s logic: I want that man, not a man like that). I did not think it fair, though, that only Ruth bore the blame of having kept Tommy and Kathy apart, as Tommy could have nut up at any time and left her. But whatever. I enjoyed Carey Mulligan in here, and Andrew Garfield was absolutely adorable as always (yes, Eric and Brian, the little girl he is and all). Keira Knightly annoyed me in here, she had a character I could in no which way connect with, even by the end, I had not one shred of pity for her. Probably doesn’t help that I am not a fan of her acting, either. The movie left me feeling as though it was a missed opportunity by the end of it as it simply didn’t resonate. It had all the opportunity to, the opportunity for rebellion, for total unhappiness, for a fight, and instead everyone seemed content just to accept their roles and moved on, which peeved me. I cannot stand spinelessness, to be very honest. Weakness annoys the hell out of me. It was shot nicely, and everything had a dreary feel to it. As Natasha says, this was a very British type of film. I would recommend you watch it – while nothing revolutionary or new, it was decent for what it was. My mission now? To read the book, to see if it fleshes some things out a little bit more, making the story a little bit more fulfilling.

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)


“Soon everyone in this city will know how it is to live in my world. A world without power, without mercy, a world without Spider-Man.”
– Electro

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is still fighting crime under his guise as Spider-Man. Graduating from high school alongside his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), his life is just setting out to begin. Peter, meanwhile, is struggling to deal with the fact that he promised Gwen’s deceased father, police Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary), that he would stay away from Gwen as to keep her out of danger. Oscorp employee Max Dillon (Jaimie Foxx) meet Spider-Man one day when Spider-Man is out fighting crime, and develops a rather obsessive interest in Spider-Man. Dillon is an extremely socially awkward person. Peter ultimately wishes to leave Gwen and she does the breaking up, saying she cannot deal with his emotional swings concerning the promises that he has made her father.

the amazing spider man gwen and petr
“You’re Spider-Man and I love that, but I love Peter Parker more.” – Gwen Stacy

Norman Orborn (Chris Cooper) meets with his son Harry (Dane DeHaan) shortly before he dies, telling Harry that he, too, will die of the illness his father suffers as it is a genetic disease, but tells Harry he has left the entire Osborn fortune to Harry, maybe he can save himself. The two have a very strained relationship, and Harry has a lot of things he cannot forgive his father for. When Peter learns that Norman Osborn has passed away and that Harry is in town, he meets with him. The two of them click back into their rhythm easily again and spend some time together. Dillon, on the other hand, is dealing with some awful things at work, and an accident as Oscorp kills him. Dillon comes back later, but there is something wrong with him. Going into the city, his powers are amplified with the energy flow from the grid beneath the city, and Spider-Man swoops in to stop him. Spider-Man believes that Dillon is innocent and not responsible or in control of what happened to him, but Dillon’s own personal issues rapidly become a problem and he learns to the more evil and angry side.

the amazing spider man harry and peter
“We have the power now. We literally, can change the world.” – Harry Osborn

Dillon is caught and locked up at Ravenscroft Institute, where scientists are running tests on him. Harry is unaware of this, as well as the death of Dillon, and Donald Menken (Colm Feore), an Oscorp board member,  is using it to blackmail Harry at a later stage. Menken is enraged that twenty year old Harry got the Osborn empire. Harry is looking for a way to cure his illness, and contact Peter, requesting he speak to Spider-Man. Harry is convinced that Spider-Man’s blood can save him. Peter denies the request, and Harry flies into a rage when Spider-Man pays him a visit and denies him the request, too. Peter, meanwhile, is looking into his parents’ past, trying to uncover why they left him and why they were killed. Peter is struggling to let Gwen go, who is looking to move to England and study at Oxford University on a scholarship. Harry approaches Electro, the mantle Dillon has taken up after his capture, after Menken manages to successfully usurp the Osborn throne. Electro gets to kill Spider-Man, whom he believes has betrayed him, and Harry gets access to the spider research that Oscorp houses.

the amazing spider man 2 harry and electro
“Think bigger, Max! I’m not the one you want. You want Spider-Man and I can give him to you!” – Harry Osborn

Will Electro carry out a successful attack on Spider-Man? What will happen to the friendship between Harry and Peter once Harry makes his hatred for Spider-Man clear? Will Harry regain power of Oscorp? Will Electro ever relinquish his bad ways? Will Peter learn more about his parents’ deaths? Will Gwen and Peter ever be able to work something out in their relationship?

the amazing spider man 2 goblin and gwen
“Everyday I wake up knowing that no matter how many lives I protect, no matter how many people call me a hero, someone even more powerful could change everything.” – Peter Parker

A 7/10 for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I am still Team Garfield. All the way. Go vote. Andrew Garfield was again entertaining and amusing as Peter Parker, and a fantastic choice. Emma Stone was again excellent as Gwen Stacy, and I liked the fact that their relationship was more fleshed out this time. Those two have stunning chemistry! Dane DeHaan absolutely thrilled me in here, and was the big reason I was insistent on seeing it in cinema. While I was not sold on the Green Goblin completely (it just had to do with the fact that he looked a little ridiculous and all), I cannot deny that DeHaan was thrilling. I just loved seeing him on screen, and my faith was greatly rewarded (not that I expected much different). I loved the relationship between Harry and Peter, though I really wished that Webb had spent more time developing it, maybe saving the Goblin for later. I felt the villains were a little rushed here, and certainly needed a little bit more work. The Goblin popped up way too fast, and Electro definitely needed some more filling out. Neither villain resonated with me. I thought the effects to be decent, though sometimes the CGI was excessive. The humour was great, I had quite a few laughs in here, and that is always fun. Overall it was definitely entertaining, and I liked that. It was nice to see a bit more going on between Peter and his Aunt May, a lovely addition there.

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

the amazing spider man poster

“We all have secrets: the ones we keep… and the ones that are kept from us.”
– Peter Parker

Peter Parker (Max Charles) loses his parents one night when he was young. His father Richard’s (Campbell Scott) office was burglarised and they rushed to his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben’s (Martin Sheen) house. His parents never made it back, and Peter grows up with his aunt and uncle. As a teenager, Peter (Andrew Garfield) fits in at school and at the same time doesn’t completely. He has a massive crush on the gorgeous Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who takes notice of him when he stands up to the school bully, Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka). Peter discovers his father’s old briefcase as well as some papers and pictures, and learns that his father worked with Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) at Oscorp. Peter really wants to get into Oscorp to see what they were working on and possibly meet Dr Connors.

“Secrets have a cost. They’re not free. Not now, not ever.” – May Parker

At Oscorp Gwen Stacy leads the group around on tour, noticing that Peter has sneaked in. She says nothing, and he enters a lab where genetically modified spiders are being used to develop a biocable. A spider bites Peter, and his life changes. He has new abilities and strengths that are weird and inexplicable and definitely give him a fright, and his behaviour changes. His aunt and uncle worry about him, though Uncle Ben is sure it is just a phase. The more Peter studies his father’s papers, the more he thinks he understands about what was going on. He visits with Dr Connors, who is massively impressed with Peter and his incredible level of intelligence. Peter even gives Connors the decay rate algorithm his father had worked out, which happens to be the missing piece that Connors needs to complete his research. Connors has difficulty at work when he is pushed to develop a cure for the dying Normon Osborn, head of Oscorp. Peter pushes back with Flash at school, and his uncle is called in about the fight. Instead of collecting his Aunt May that night, Peter loses track of time when he and Connors regrow a mouse’s limb.

the amazing spider man peter starving
“There’s rumor of a new species in New York. It can be aggressive, if threatened…” – Dr Curt Conners

Peter and Uncle Ben fight about Peter not collecting his aunt, and Peter leaves. His uncle is walking around the streets looking for Peter after he stormed out, and when a cashier refuses to let Peter buy milk at a deli, Peter refuses to help the cashier when a thief holds up the deli. This all leads to Uncle Ben being killed in the street, and Peter having the guilt wash over him that he could have prevented it. Flash and Peter even come to a reluctant sort of truce. Peter decides to use his powers to hunt down the man that killed his uncle and exact the justice he feels is deserved, and designs his suit and mechanical devices to shoot webs from. Peter and Gwen are getting closer to one another, and Peter has an argument with Gwen’s father, police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary) about Spider-Man, and that he is not all bad. Gwen learns that Peter is Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Connors gets fired by Dr Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan) when he refuses to move onto human testing, and in desperation tests the algorithm on himself seeing as he has a missing limb and it regenerates. However, there are problems when the regrown limb is lizard like, and Ratha is on his way to the Veterans Administration to administer it under the pretext of it being a flu shot.

the amazing spider-man gwen and peter
“You should see the other guy. The other guy, in this instance, being a giant mutant lizard.” – Peter Parker

A massive fight breaks out on the bridge, and the people are terrified. Spider-Man swoops in and saves the day, though the city thinks he is either a hero or a menace, but either way you look at it, Peter realises he cannot just hunt the man responsible for his uncle’s death, but protect the city, too. He needs to find out who the Lizard is as well as balance his life, responsibilities, power, grief and infatuation with Gwen Stacy. Will he figure out who the Lizard is? Will he ever be able to beat the Lizard? Will the Lizard ever humanise himself again? Will Peter and Gwen find a nice and comfortable place with one another? Will Spider-Man ever be accepted by the people?

the amazing spider man peter
“You’re a wanted man, Peter Parker.” – Gwen Stacy

A well-deserved 8/10 for The Amazing Spider-Man. This movie got right everything Sam Raimi’s did not. For the first time, I saw a realistic Peter Parker, and a believable Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield brought a lot to the table with his acting capabilities, and this is duly noted. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was fantastic – she is pretty, smart, well-spoken, willful, strong… everything you would expect Peter Parker to want. This film also embodied the intelligence that Peter possesses, which is great to see how insanely smart he is. The previous movies didn’t really capture his ingenuity. The chemistry between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield was palpable and intense. The Lizard was just so well done, and everything just looked so good. His character probably could have been developed more, but I liked it for what it was. I will always regret not having seen this in cinemas when it was released due to thinking “too soon” (let’s face it, when it came there were only five years between the final of Sam Raimi’s trilogy and this new reboot), but it surprised me immensely. The cast was fantastic, the camerawork and effects worked so well. They also captured the humour of Spider-Man in here, there were a few places I cracked up good and proper. They also encapsulated so well that Peter was neither popular nor the lowest on the food chain. I thought this was a fantastic addition for Spider-Man, and well worth looking into if you haven’t already!