Downton Abbey (2019)

downton-abbey-movie-review-poster-2019Director: Michael Engler

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 122 Minutes

Main Cast: Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode, Tuppence Middleton, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Imelda Staunton, Robert James-Collier, Hugh Bonneville

Plot: In the fancy building known as Downton Abbey, the residents and staff prepare themselves for a visit from the King and Queen of England. (My version)
The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century. (Official version)

My Thoughts: If you can’t tell by my description of the plot, I’ve never seen an episode of Downton Abbey. I dragged my friend Steph to see The Dead Don’t Die though, and I kind of owed her one. Plus I always say I’ll give any movie a chance! All she told me before we went in was that, and I quote, “if my beautiful butler does not get his happy ending we are rioting!”. I agreed wholeheartedly whilst eyeing up a chocolate cookie at the cafe!

(Spoiler warning from here on out because I genuinely don’t know what can be considered a spoiler!)

So to be honest, I had a lot of fun watching it. There were far too many characters for me to keep track of, I genuinely thought that Imelda Staunton’s character was the Queen for about half of the movie, so I got myself quite confused, but the movie itself is a standalone story in a way so I wasn’t completely lost. Any movie is worth watching for Dame Maggie Smith though, isn’t it? Plus, my geeky little heart was overjoyed to see Professor Umbridge and Professor McGonagall bicker!

I think I wanted just a little bit more drama, though. Maybe the TV show has it, but these incidents were built up and then fizzled out a little. Terrorist attack? Fizzled out before it really started. Thief in the Abbey? Found and scolded appropriately. Illegal, secret gay bar? The butler got arrested and bailed in about 2 minutes. My drama llama went hungry!

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Still – I had a good time and I’m tempted to actually give the show a chance now, especially as I’m probably the only female Brit who’s never watched it…

Best Bit: Sorry but this isn’t even related to the movie. Me and Steph were the youngest audience members by at least 30 years, and that made the adverts/commercials section hilarious, as it was clear the target audience was definitely not us! It was all fun laughing at the specialist, pediatric chairs being advertised until one of Steph’s favourite shops made an appearance…!

Worst Bit: I was loving the totally hot plumber fixing the boiler and flirting with one of the younger staff members, much to the annoyance of her fiance, but then said fiance did the stupid thing of breaking the boiler (not realising the guy would have to return?!) and we didn’t get to see him again? Shameful.

Fun Trivia: The royal visit of George V to Downton Abbey was based on his real-life visit to Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire which was used in the film for the ballroom scenes.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 boiler pipes which, you know, you should probably not stamp on if you don’t want the hot plumber to come back and hit on your gal.

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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?