The Current War (2017)

the-current-war-2017-movie-reviewDirector: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 107 Minutes

Main Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Macfadyen, Damien Molony

Plot: Set in the 1800s, The Current War is a retelling of the cutthroat race between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to determine whose electrical system will change the way the world works.

My Thoughts: So this is how my week has gone. Love Island has finished and I have no more distractions on an evening – huzzah! So let’s see what’s new at the cinema…oh wait. NOTHING. Did no one want to release anything at all whilst The Lion King is playing for its first week? The only thing new in my local was The Current War, a movie that was meant to be released in 2017 but got shelved because of the Weinstein scandal. I can’t say I was excited to see it but look at that cast! It was worth a go just for them.

History was my least favourite subject at school – I detested it. So the great thing about biopic movies for me is that I don’t actually know what’s going to happen! Which is terrible I suppose, but at least it made a not-so-interesting subject matter a little more exciting for me. I have to admit as well – it wasn’t until the day after that I realised the pun in the name of the movie, the ‘current’ war…no, neither me or my toddler are sleeping well this week!

I have to say though, I did enjoy the movie. It was quite fascinating the lengths that Edison went to during the race, and I had to laugh at the irony of the fact that Westinghouse years later was awarded “The Edison Award” for his work! It’s not a movie I’ll probably watch again, but it was much more interesting than I thought it would be. Solid performances all round, too!

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Best Bit: I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing Benedict Cumberbatch playing an up-his-own-arse genius. I think he’s at risk of being typecast right now but when he does it so well it’s hard to criticise him for it.

Worst Bit: I did actually know about what happened to the first electric chair trial, but must have forgotten about it. I can’t imagine how it must have felt when it failed to work not once but twice!

Fun Trivia: Jake Gyllenhaal was originally cast alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, however, Gyllenhaal dropped out and Michael Shannon was brought as a replacement.

My Rating: 3 bright, shiny lightbulbs that might kill you, if you listen to Edison.

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P.S. Does anyone else think Michael Shannon looks like Ron Swanson in the poster?

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Frank & Lola (2016)

frank-and-lola-movie-review-2016-posterDirector: Matthew Ross

Genre: Drama, Romance

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Main Cast: Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Rosanna Arquette, Michael Nyqvist, Justin Long, Emmanuelle Devos

Plot: Usually I try to sum up the plot myself but the IMDB version is so beautiful it would be a shame not to use it: A psychosexual noir love story, set in Las Vegas and Paris, about love, obsession, sex, betrayal, revenge and, ultimately, the search for redemption.

My Thoughts: Does anyone else find that their watchlist only seems to grow bigger, no matter how many movies you watch? Last year I was up to about 50 and I vowed that by New Year’s I would have watched every movie on it. I think I managed about 3, and as of right now there are 55 movies in my watchlist. Argh! Maybe this year will be my year? Anyway, I’m working my way through in order starting from the movies first added.

Frank & Lola was next, and being a 2016 release means that it’s been on my list for 3 years now. So long in fact that I can’t recall what made me put it there in the first place! Anyway, Frank & Lola is a quiet and dark little romance story, not like anything else I’ve really seen. One thing I can say for certain is that Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots put in amazing performances as two troubled individuals brought together.

The first half of the movie was captivating, I wondered what was going to go wrong next, whether the admission by Lola was completely true, and just to what lengths Frank would go to get revenge, but even though it’s only a short movie, it just couldn’t hold my interest long enough unfortunately. A beautiful little movie, but just not for me.

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Best Bit: I don’t think there’s ever been a movie or TV show where I’ve been disappointed when Justin Long turns up. Whether he’s bringing some laughs or turning up the awkward factor as is the case here, I’m always happy to see him!

Worst Bit: There’s no particular bad bit, to be honest, I just felt like the movie showed its hand too soon and my concentration drifted for the last half an hour.

Fun Trivia: Director Matthew Ross had been trying to make this film for ten years prior to its release in 2016. Imogen Poots (Lola) admitted that his dedication attracted her to the project and it was a large deciding factor in her signing on.

My Rating: 2 and a half sets of chef’s knives which, when wielded by a stern looking Michael Shannon wanting blood, are absolutely terrifying!

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