Connor Macgregor Reviews Thread

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Connor Macgregor Reviews...Emma

INTRO: So I didn't finish the 30 days 30 reviews challenge, but I am back again to do more film reviews and take some breathing space away from reviewing TV shows.

SUMMARY: Jane Austen's beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.

THOUGHTS: This film is nice. It’s a film that has easy and accessible source material, but takes a much more modern and cheeky approach to it. The star of the show is Anya Taylor Joy, who is just delightfully English in this role, and is the mechanism that makes this film tick. I find her delightful and enjoyable to watch, even when her character really misbehaves throughout the story. Then there is the costumes, which are always good in a historical drama as it allows real extravagance and creativity to shine out. With that being said, the film can drift into dullness at times, which can make the watching of the film a chore at points. I think period dramas are a harder sell for me as the story needs to be of an extraordinary scale and not of something that can be average and dreary and out of touch with today’s times.

OVERALL: Emma is a charming film, though a plot that can drift. The costumes and overall setting are strong and visually appealing as well as Anya Taylor Joy's naturally gifted performance.

RATING: 72% - B+

Connor Macgregor Reviews…Utoya: July 22

INTRO: Ten years today, Norway was victim to one of the scariest and shocking terrorist attacks in its history. Utoya, commonly known as a location for a youth camp for the Norweigan Labour party, became the centre to a bloodthirsty massacre which still has Norway shaken to this day. The film Utoya: July 22, in my opinion, comes the closest to replicating that on screen.

SUMMARY: On July 22, 2011, less than two hours after detonating a deadly car-bomb, and having already killed eight people in Oslo, the remorseless Norwegian far-right terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, boarded the ferry MS Thorbjørn in Lake Tyri. As the shocking news of the devastating Oslo explosion was starting to reach the ears of the unsuspecting teenagers of the Workers' Youth League summer camp on the remote island of Utøya, the loud, sharp, and blood-curdling sound of Anders' first gunshots could only mean one thing: death. Now, for the next long and nightmarish seventy minutes, eighteen-year-old Kaja, her younger sister, Emilie, and approximately six-hundred young participants will find themselves drawn into a violent maelstrom of destruction, as Breivik, with cold-blooded precision, injures hundreds, and kills sixty-nine boys and girls. Will the world ever forget July 22, 2011, and the atrocious Utøya massacre?

REVIEW: So this film really is horrifying. To get a good look of the terror and urgency of something that those teenagers never thought would happen. Even in the background, the distant sound of recurring gunshots is haunting, sending chills down my spine every time I hear it. We mainly follow one character, a young female whose perspective is supported throughout the film from beginning to end, showcasing her urgency, fear, horror and determination to find her sister amongst this chaos. Faces are scattered all across the film, as well as the bodies of those who are part of the tragedy littered across the island. The film’s ending punches you in the gut, and reminds you just how horrific this incident was, and how emotionally scarring it still is to many Norwegians today in 2021.

OVERALL: Utoya: July 22 is a chilling observance of one of the most terrifying events to ever occur in Norweigan history. The performances, the long shot, the heightened intensity across the film. It makes for a unique and gripping experience that the viewer will not forget in a hurry.

RATING: 100% - A+

Connor Macgregor Reviews…Malcolm & Marie

INTRO: John David Washington rants and raves about Hollywood whilst Zendaya just cries in the corner in her underwear. Oh, and its in black and white too.

SUMMARY: A filmmaker returns home with his girlfriend following a celebratory movie premiere as he awaits what's sure to be imminent critical and financial success. The evening suddenly takes a turn as revelations about their relationships begin to surface, testing the strength of their love.

GOOD: I really appreciated and admired the look of the film. Black and White is of course a very stylish and niche look to use for your film, and I thought it worked well with the story. It has that noir feeling, and the story helps in expressing that. The Jazz music that is scattered throughout the film is nice, and of course the performances are great. Both John David Washington & Zendaya are great, their chemistry electric and creating a performance mirrored and influenced by earlier works, most notably Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf.

BAD: I’ll be honest, the script itself while good in places, falls flat and pretentious in others. Dialogue that feels very ‘inside reference’ and nerdy which puts me off very quickly. Any criticism of critics and Hollywood in the film feels to me more of a rant from the filmmaker itself rather than something that comes naturally from the character. As a result, all of the internal Hollywood criticism doesn’t feel as unique and cutting edge as it intended to be.

OVERALL: Malcolm & Marie is an intriguing story about credit, acceptance, and industry. Strong performances by John David Washington & Zendaya are noteworthy and memorable, yet the story delves into self-indulgence and isn’t nearly as identifiable or unique from what has come before with this format. In short, looks very pretty but nothing new.

RATING: 61% - B

Connor Macgregor Reviews…Go

INTRO: Go is Doug Liman’s premiere feature film which embodies night life culture, drugs, chaos and wholesome 90s nostalgia.

SUMMARY: Told from three perspectives, a story of a bunch of young Californians trying to get some cash, do and deal some drugs, score money and sex in Las Vegas, and generally experience the rush of life.

ITS GREAT: I think this film is an absolute gem. Original, fun, clever, and one that captures 90s nightlife very well. The multi-perspective narrative is one that I always enjoy. One where you think you know what is going on, and then a new perspective switches gear completely. I love it, and as a result the film was never boring or predictable, always keeping in suspense and excitement. Performances in this film are also very strong. Performances from Katie Holmes, Sarah Polley, Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr all make this film electric and of its time. This film is very underrated and has some great ideas and strong storytelling all across the board.

OVERALL: I love Go, and I think its one of the most underrated films I’ve ever seen. I love the multi-layered storytelling, great performances, 90s aesthetic and the feeling of a good time all throughout.

RATING: 91% - A

Connor Macgregor Reviews…Another Round

INTRO: Mads Mikkelsen is a growing cult favourite within the world of acting, building a profile of his work around the world. Here, he gives us a performance that will forever be unique in his career.

SUMMARY: There is a theory that man is born with half a per mille too little. That alcohol in the blood opens the mind to the outside world, problems seem smaller and creativity increases. We know it well; after the first glass of wine, the conversation lifts, the possibilities open up. Martin is a high school teacher. He feels old and tired. His students and their parents want him terminated to increase their average. Encouraged by the per mille theory, Martin and his three colleagues throw themselves into an experiment to maintain a constant alcohol impact in everyday life. If Churchill won World War II in a dense fog of spirits, what could the strong drops do for them and their students? The result is positive in the beginning. Martin's class is in a different way now, and the project is being promoted to a real academic study with the collection of results. Slowly, but surely, the alcohol makes the four friends and their surroundings loosen up. The results are rising, and they really begin to feel life. As the objects go inboard, the experiment progresses for some and goes off track for others. It becomes clearer and clearer that alcohol can generate great results in world history, but that all daring can also have consequences.

STORY: This is quite an intriguing, fun yet depressing story all in one. I like the idea of these four men experimenting with alcohol and how far they can take it, and how it can affect their daily lives. As they push it further and further, the results are more erratic and the consequence clearer to see. It’s a good narrative, one with a great payoff and a final scene that is both memorable and fantastic to watch.

PERFORMANCES: I mean, Mads Mikkelsen is at his best here. A truly multi-dimensional character with depth and conflict. I found his character relatable with his conflict, responsible as a father, and sociable with his friends and class. He leads an idea due to the dullness and mundane structure of his life at the beginning of the film, and you see his transformation along with the other males of the film. The experiment invokes different reactions, which in turn invoke different performances.

OVERALL: Another Round is a wild ride of a film, creating masterful, meaningful performances with its leads. It tells a topical story in a unique way and presents itself as a surreal but serious film.

RATING: 84% - A-

Connor Macgregor Reviews…Closer

INTRO: An acclaimed play attempts to transition into an acclaimed film. But will it succeed?

SUMMARY: Smart-but-ineffectual journalist Dan "We use euphemisms!" cannot decide between his girlfriend, loving-but-clingy waitress Alice, or his lover cold-but-intellectual photographer Anna; herself indecisive between Dan and honest-but-thuggish "You're bloody gorgeous!" doctor Larry. The film puts the four leading characters in a box and strips them apart.

GOOD: The film utilises its four central actors very well, all of which very strong performances. I think the best for me is Natalie Portman, as she provides the most emotional out of all of them. The rest are good, just not as strong as her. It’s a well-acted film and all four actors play off one another very well overall.

BAD: Each one of these characters are very irresponsible people and makes watching the film almost frustrating throughout. Not one of these characters are mature, mindful, and sensible in how they make decisions and dig themselves in very messy holes as a result. The structure of the story also feels very much like a play. You don’t really get a sense of these characters' wider world, as the story keeps their perspective self-contained within the other three characters, making it harder for the story to really come alive and be three-dimensional. It limits the film hugely, and therefore cannot really come alive aside from the performances.

OVERALL: Closer is good but fails to be great. Aside from strong performances, the film falls flat from world-building and the story is weak overall. A rental by my standards.

RATING: 61% - B

Connor Macgregor Reviews…Last Night in Soho

INTRO: Edgar Wright returns with a new feature detailing the horror of 60s London, right in the heart, in Soho.

SUMMARY: In acclaimed director Edgar Wright's psychological thriller, Eloise, an aspiring fashion designer, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer, Sandie. But the glamour is not all it appears to be and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something far darker.

THE GOOD: You have two very central performances here that deliver: Thomasin Mackenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy. Thomasin edges out between the two seeing as she’s the lead and gives a great performance. I love her innocence, as well as her eagerness to experiment and grow and find herself within the capital. It’s something I can relate to given how I moved to the city a few years ago for a time. It’s a tough city to live in at times. As for Anya, I think she gives a great performance of a character who is determined and focused on a simple goal of securing a singing job, only to stumble in a very murky world of sex work which defines her actions for the rest of the film. Kudos also to Matt Smith & Diana Rigg, who have smaller roles but do very well with them when on screen. Also mention should go to actors Michael Ajao, Synnove Karlsen and Kassius Nelson all do well with their respective parts too.

THE BAD: The third act of the film gets a little overwhelming for my taste, as it just throws everything at Thomasin Mackenzie’s character without a moment to react. Its fast, ferocious and struggles to keep itself together. There’s also the ending as well, or more specifically the message of the ending, which tends to frame a certain character’s actions as justified, though I hugely disagreed with and found to be a bad message to send out to viewers overall.

OVERALL: Last Night in Soho is a strong film for the festive Halloween season, and provides Edger Wright’s filmography with new flavour. As such, the cast is great, story appealing, but a third act that goes haywire slightly. Still worth your money though.

RATING: 85% - A-