Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Howard’

The Grandfather Paradox

Tenet

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Andrew Howard, Himesh Patel, Jack Cutmore-Scott, Clemence Poesy, Wes Chatham, Martin Donovan

If a man goes back in time and kills his own grandfather then he would never have been born.

That is the Grandfather Paradox and the basic notion of director Christopher Nolan’s stylish and innovative, time-bending espionage action film Tenet set in Kiev, Ukraine, Mumbai and Oslo in Norway.

Besides the mesmerising action sequences, the critical part about Tenet is the clever casting of the son of Denzel Washington, Golden globe nominee John David Washington (BlackKKlansman) as The Protagonist opposite the dashing British actor Robert Pattinson (Cosmopolis, Twilight, Queen of the Desert) as Neil.

Tenet is like Inception but set within the rough estimates of a spy genre, superbly written and directed by Christopher Nolan and featuring an outstanding original music score by Swedish film composer Ludwig Goransson who won an Oscar for original score for Black Panther.  

To describe the plot of Tenet as a paradox is an understatement. It is a carefully constructed set of semiotic images punctuated with some astounding action sequences especially on a Norwegian highway and on an opulent skyscraper in Mumbai.

While the protagonist is in Mumbai, he comes across his Tenet contact Mahir wonderfully played by Yesterday star Himesh Patel, which leads him into the murky world of international arms dealing and he discovers a nefarious inversion machine that can alter both the past and devastate the future.

From the eye-catching hostage scene in an Opera house in Kiev, Ukraine to the final time-bending battle sequence spliced with a rather poignant confrontation by the femme fatale Kat superbly played by Elizabeth Debicki (Widows, The Great Gatsby, The Tale) with her vicious misogynistic Russian arms dealing husband Andrei Sator, played with an Oscar worthy performance by Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk, My Week with Marilyn, Murder on the Orient Express) aboard a luxury yacht off the coast of Vietnam, Tenet is an exotic, elegant and asymmetrical action film, with an innovative plot that will challenge the viewer to watch carefully.

For sheer originality and perfect casting, Tenet is worth seeing. For incredibly intricate and carefully orchestrated action scenes especially those involving a transport plane crashing into Oslo Airport, Tenet is phenomenal.

After months of being deprived of real original and ground breaking cinema, Tenet is a must see film on the big screen with surround sound and should be a good reason to get back to the auditorium to see this spectacularly complex and clever piece of cinema.

Tenet gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended viewing.

Once again, the multi-talented director of The Batman Trilogy, Dunkirk and Inception, Christopher Nolan does not disappoint.

No Messing with Mills

Taken 3

taken_three_ver2

Director: Olivier Megaton

Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott, Forest Whitaker, Sam Spruell, Don Harvey

Oscar Nominee for Schindler’s List Liam Neeson reprises his role as ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills in the third installment of the hugely successful Taken franchise. French director Olivier Megaton with a script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, Taken 3 does not disappoint as a gritty muscular and tenacious thriller aimed for the 35 plus age group.

The first film Taken was set in Paris and the second film was set in Istanbul and now Taken 3 sees the much blighted Mills family in their home city of Los Angeles.

When Mill’s ex-wife Leonore St John played by Famke Janssen is mysteriously murdered, he is framed for the crime. Not wanting to becoming a guest of the LAPD, Miller ingeniously escapes from the police and goes on a vicious quest to find out who really killed his ex-wife and mother of his beloved daughter Kim played by Maggie Grace, who was the victim of a kidnapping in Taken and nearly sold into the sordid sex trade of Paris.

As the intricate plot of Taken 3 unfolds, it is revealed that Leonore’s relationship with her estranged and slimy husband Stuart St John played by Dougray Scott (Ripley’s Game, Mission Impossible 2) is not what it appears. St John owes large amounts of cash to the Russian mafia through some dodgy arms deals who can be particularly unforgiving when one doesn’t pay their debts.

taken_three

Veteran ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills knows there is a frame up and in a terrifying and exhilarating cat and mouse game Miller is pursued by wily LAPD detective Frank Doltzer wonderfully played by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) who soon realizes that Mills is no ordinary opponent. Liam Neeson has the gravitas and the tough guy image to be taken seriously as a hardened father who does not let anyone mess with his family. For there is no messing with Mills -he will find you and kill you.

Without spoiling the rest of the story, Taken 3 is a fast-paced well directed and gritty action thriller which sees Mills cause havoc on a Los Angeles freeway, at a University campus and in the penthouse of nefarious Russian mobster Oleg Malankov played by Sam Spruell (The Hurt Locker).

This is a shoot first and ask questions later film, with stunning action sequences and a fitting way to end the third installment of a gritty action trilogy.

With the razor sharp editing and unforgiving hand to hand combat sequences, the original Taken was such a surprise hit, with its trademark of unrelenting violence in a mature machismo style, it was no wonder that two more sequels were in order.

Taken 3 does not disappoint action fans and those that loved the first two films. Highly recommended viewing for those that like their action heroes older, tougher and wiser.

Success is a Loan Shark

Limitless

With innovative direction by Neil Burger who brought the stunning period drama The Illusionist to the screen in 2006, Limitless stars Bradley Cooper as an aimless writer in New York City battling to complete a novel, landing up more at the Bar than at his publishers. Through a dodgy encounter with a shady brother-in-law, Ed Morra (Cooper) discovers the drug NZT which unlocks the potential of the human brain allowing a person to operate with all synapses connected and being fully in control with a super stimulated and alert state of mind, unlocking memories, abilities and hidden talents. Soon Morra in his quest for personal wealth transforms into a stock market trader being wooed by big investors and also chased by a shady Russian loan shark.

Morra played with humility and helped by Cooper’s vulnerable, yet starling blue eyes, is a departure for the actor who was in danger of being stuck in romantic comedy hell. Having instant fame from such hit films as The Hangover and The A-Team, Bradley Cooper holds his own as a flawed hero in Limitless a psychological thriller on the efforts men go to achieve success and power, wealth and wisdom at whatever cost. Unlike Edward Zwick’s raunchy comedy Love and Other Drugs which used sex and nudity to stay clear of the dangers of pharmaceutical medication, Limitless plunges into the murky world of drug addiction, of balancing a mind-unleashing drugs with the after effects of chemicals that can serious alter ones personality and if used correctly one’s path to success. Limitless does not shy away from the notion that all successful and brilliant men, whatever field they achieve their fame, there has been a secret reliance on that all powerful magic pill for success turning mere dreams and ideas into a prominent career and recognition.

Morra shows the effects of the brain boosting drug and the dangers of over reliance on that form of stimulus to achieve a person’s goals. Limitless is an ambivalent take on what drives men to success. Is it their ability to rise above average mediocrity or their reliance on an external booster to achieve fame, fortune and financial superiority in a cut-throat free-market economy, as competitive as that signified by 21st century commercial America and a relentless puritan work ethic?

Limitless is set on the edges of Wall Street, and with a menacing and megalomaniacal performance by Robert de Niro as the financial investor Carl van Loon, Morra is soon drawn into his world of greed, absolute power and a morally devoid fight for survival. Whether Morra transcends van Loon’s world to make his own individual mark on a power hungry society without the aid of questionable narcotics is left up to the audience to ultimately decide. However, the character journey of Morra from a loser unpublished writer, explaining his narrative to bar flys’ in a hazy Manhattan bar at the film’s opening to the confident wealthy and politically ambitious man at the end of the film is remarkable, violent and ethically questionable. If viewers enjoyed The Game, Bad Influence and Wall Street, the original, then Limitless is a film to watch. Lastly as drugs or alcohol is addictive, Limitless shows that the desire for success and wealth in a competitive environment is equally alluring.

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