Chernobyl (2019)

In this miniseries, we return to 1986 to when the worst man-made disaster struck Eastern Europe, when the no. 4 reactor exploded from Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant. As a close representation of true history, this show tries to reminisce in the truth of what actually happened back in 1986. Although, as a dramatized version, not everything reflects the truth such as a character representing numerous scientists within one. However, I believe the facts within this dramatized history programme to be pretty damn close to the realities of this tragedy which just makes the episodes that much more distressing and horrifying.

Chernobyl 2

‘Chernobyl’ is a masterpiece of a programme. The whole execution of this dramatized tragedy has been phenomenal to watch. The cinematography alone was outstanding. The actual look of the programme just brought this disaster to screen in the most horrific honest light. The show really did well to create these iconic shots, such as the horrifying scene that involved the Bridge of Death, or the eerie thrilling scene in which men sacrifice themselves to enter the nuclear plant, or finally the shots of people trying to rescue the land with masks sheltering their faces. Every aspect within lighting, sound and picture came together to add so much effect in one television programme.

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The emotion on screen was also outstanding. As an audience, you watch the first episode as the knowledge of the nuclear reactor explosion becomes to be known by officials. You watch as experts are called in and people higher up try to cover up what has happened. The understatement of this tragedy is astounding. Then you move through the episodes understanding this extreme risk of radiation with scientific excellence mostly executed from two characters on screen: Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) and Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson). The episodes are unfolded where these two and Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgard) try and cope with the effects and minimise more damage to the continent. The audience visualises the true heroes of the disaster and the sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands of people dedicated to saving the world from nuclear destruction. There is a lot of emotion portrayed on screen executed for every audience to experience the deadly cause of this nuclear explosion.

Chernobyl
Episode 2: Stellan Skarsgård, Jared Harris.
photo: Liam Daniel/HBO

If you haven’t watched ‘Chernobyl’, I would definitely recommend it. All of the actors on screen seem to be so excellently chosen to portray as close as a representation of this true event; the smallest aspects have been taken into consideration to add to the phenomenal effect of this miniseries. Some parts are so hard to watch, particularly as they reflect the truth of the matter – the fatality, the realism, the tragedy. ‘Chernobyl’ is a phenomenal, moving, heart-breaking piece of dramatized history on screen.

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Nerve (2016)

The advertisement around this film was screaming excellence, best mystery thriller of the year, so of course I had to watch it and put my own opinion on it. Plus it’s got Dave Franco and Emma Roberts, who’s going to say no to that?

Emma Roberts and Dave Franco as Vee and Ian, find themselves being forced to pair up when it comes to a game of Nerve. “Are you a watcher or a player?” Vee has been a watcher, until Sydney (Emily Meade), her best friend, who is a player, pushed Vee to do something with her life. Taking life through dares, Vee, paired with Ian, seems to be getting the worst dares. Something Sydney becomes quite jealous of. From watching the trailer, to be honest I thought it was going to be a bit more of a thriller from the start than it was, but I felt that it built up characters much more than I thought it would. Not saying this is a bad thing.

Nerve - Vee and Ian

The way tension was built was extreme. There were parts of the film where I couldn’t watch, too much stress all at once. This was all because of the camera angles, they were very clever in creating this tension and making it extremely stressful for the audience. Literally, times in the film where I had to turn away, worried for what might happen. This made the film crazy and a clever thriller. I felt the film was all building up to the ending, and it was a very good ending at that. Mix of shock, unsure what will happen, unsure what just happened. Very clever. I also loved the excellent use of technology in this film. This is what the film is revolved around as Nerve is a game on the internet, the aspect around technology had to be good and it was. There is a constant unknowing of what is going to happen.

Nerve - motorbike dare

As Vee and Ian start to become more famous with their stunts, the mysterious watchers watch and the game only gets more dangerous, more risky, more deadly. They had no idea what it would build up to but now they have to win.

Mission: Impossible III (2006)

Well even before the title I was absorbed into this third impossible mission. We start with a flashback, where things have clearly hit their peak in a mission that seems to have gone incredibly wrong, then were back in present time where things are at it’s happiest for Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), he’s engaged! Let the mission begin: what started off as a search and rescue becomes a lot more than that. Plus, his fiancé knows nothing of his spy tales.

Mission Impossible 3 - Search and Rescue Mission

This Mission Impossible may have just topped the first and second. This third movie of the series is jam-packed with so much action, it’s even more explosive, there’s more fights, it’s non-stop action –there may be 15 minutes throughout the whole movie that isn’t. This really is a brilliant action movie, the plot was interesting, the villain was fantastic, the action was explosive and the twists were shocking. A lot happens in this film, like the others there’s layers to build the action in the plot, but this one seems to have a lot more to it with action in every section.

Played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, the villain of the film is the best one so far! It doesn’t seem like the mission is easy, because this man doesn’t hold back. His sadistic twisted ways portray Ethan Hunt at his most desperate. We see as there are helicopter chases, missiles fired, arrests and jumping out of windows and off roofs. Additionally, Simon Pegg is in this movie and he does make me giggle even at a time of peril for Ethan Hunt.

Mission Impossible 3 - Ethan Hunt

‘Mission: Impossible III’ is a brilliant action movie. I’ve enjoyed this one more than the other two. So far (as I’m watching them in order for the first time), I would rank this one top, the first second and the second last. It was nice to see Ethan Hunt in a different light of a normal family life, but always returning to his spy ways and this film just brought bigger and better explosive action. Obviously, with the excellence of the use of faces alike to the first two films, but this time we get an insider peak of how they are made.

Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Another impossible mission. The second delves into pharmaceuticals, the advancement of biotech. A deadly virus has been stolen and it’s up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team to take it back before it’s sold. Additionally, Luther (Ving Rhames) is back in his hacking duties excellent as ever.

‘Mission: Impossible II’ builds the tension really well once again. Everything seemed to connect better in this film, everything you watch will be linked in. Where the first ten minutes of the first ‘Mission: Impossible’ seemed irrelevant, this one interweaves much more nicely. Although, I do think that the first film has a better plot. Not that this one is bad, because it isn’t, it’s interesting and things definitely don’t go well for Ethan Hunt – things do not go to plan. This second film brings explosions and an action-packed plot. Oh and it’s very dramatic.

Mission Impossible 2 - Ethan Hunt

The villains do seem to have swapping accents, it does become a bit annoying, although maybe I’m thinking about it too much. It’s not that much of a problem. You definitely tend to watch these films for the action plots anyway rather than the talking. And what’s important is that the action plot was there. There were lots of moments of long fighting scenes although still remain investing, car chases and more of Ethan Hunt’s acrobatics. Furthermore, ‘Mission: Impossible II’ has another new character in the mix, Nyah (Thandie Newton), who’s a great addition. A character Ethan is sent to hunt down for the beginning of the film, unknown to him why and what his mission actually is. Nevertheless, the romance wasn’t necessary, it escalated rather quickly…

I did enjoy this second Mission Impossible. So it’s not the most amazing action film I’ve ever seen, but it’s still enjoyable. Maybe more could have been put into the plot, but as I’ve said it’s one of those films for the action thrilling scenes. The use of faces makes you second guess everything, just like their use in the first film. The use of these is very clever. On the other hand, there’s a lot of slow-motion moments and I’m not sure if all of them actually hold the action value they are supposed to – it did become a bit silly with them. Regardless, it remains an action-packed film with twists and turns throughout. A solid action film – it is what it is! Not a fan of Tom Cruise’s haircut though…

Mission: Impossible (1996)

The beginning of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). ‘Mission: Impossible’ is what is says on the tin, although impossible when Tom Cruise is in the mix? I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of Tom Cruise, although he is what he is, a great action star and this is proven by this series of missions impossible.

1996 brings the original ‘Mission: Impossible’ where a mission has gone terribly wrong and Ethan is the only one left alive – but now he’s suspected as the traitor in the CIA. But I don’t think him calmly explaining that he isn’t the mole will solve the issue; of course a fight is ahead of them, a mystery to be solved, uncovered, who is the true traitor? And the only way to do that? Apparently by stealing the highly secretive information he’s been wrongly accused of stealing…
Mission Impossible - Ethan Hunt

Tom Cruise does execute the action in films excellently, there’s no denying that, even if I’m not his biggest fan. The storyline is really good, it’s very enjoyable and exciting to try and uncover the real culprit of the mission going wrong. Meanwhile, Ethan Hunt gathers a new team together to steal the real disk drive from the CIA. This is where we meet new characters, ex-spies Krieger (Jean Reno) and Luther (Ving Rhames). Krieger brings tension in the group, but fundamental to the mission where Ethan hangs in suspension in a room sensitive of everything (a truly great scene). Luther is a great addition, he’s funny and an enjoyable character to watch with expert hacker skills. We also see the actors Vanessa Redgrave aka the lovely innocent Claire from ‘Letters to Juliet’ and Henry Czerny the hated Conrad Grayson from ‘Revenge’!

Mission Impossible - Ethan Hunt and Claire

After watching the first ‘Mission: Impossible’, I think I’ll make it my mission to watch the others. This one was enjoyable and action-packed. Although, I’m still at a loss with the first ten minutes of the film, I haven’t got a clue what that has got to do with anything else. Additionally, with only the films moving into the present the special effects are only going to get better; to be honest for a 1996 film the effects were actually quite good already! There were moments that weren’t up to scratch, so don’t expect perfection. However, it is easy to get over and it doesn’t ruin any part of the film, it’s still enjoyable for an action film with a great plot. There are some great scenes, some twists and turns, powerful action and an interesting mystery. Is there much more needed?

Killing Eve (Season Two)

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are back for a second season of ‘Killing Eve’. One of the best shows I’ve seen of 2018, of course it had to come back in 2019! In just one day, season two had been watched – every ending just begs you to continue, so why resist? There will be some spoilers from season one as they carry one from each other, therefore read at your own risk – watch season one first: review here.

Villanelle (Jodie Comer), heartbroken yet impressed by Eve’s (Sandra Oh) recent stabbing, is trying to cope with the injury. However, what Eve doesn’t recognise is Villanelle’s even more deepened interest in the MI6 agent. Meanwhile, Carolyn (Fiona Shaw) recruits Eve back on another psychopath hunt. Eve is looking for Villanelle, Villanelle is hunting Eve. The obsessed chemistry only gets worse between these two, as the first contact between at the end of season one has only brought a need for more.

Killing Eve S2 - Eve

Both actresses are phenomenal in this season just alike to the first. Jodie Comer as Villanelle is amazing in her acting talents, more of her accents are experienced in this series. Talents from Russian, to British, to French and American. Again, we travel across Europe visiting the beautiful shots and scenes, while Villanelle patrols doing what she does best: killing. However, we see so much more of this character, we learn more. The complexities are explored in this season. Although, keeping the sassiness and hilarity of her bluntness – the things that make her character so great.

Whereas, Eve in her new psychopath-centred life, forgets her husband and delves even deeper into a life of MI6 hunting of murderers. Eve’s character changes progressively throughout the season. She begins to think differently, influenced by Villanelle more than she’d want to admit. Finding Villanelle is her whole life.

Killing Eve S2 - Villanelle

The parallels between the two series is phenomenal, beautiful in its irony and reflection. I do think this is a great second season, I don’t think anything will ever live up to the brilliance of season one, however it doesn’t need to. This season brings everything that is needed from season one and draws even more out of the characters. ‘Killing Eve’ continues to be a fantastic show, so different from other shows. Something is always happening, there are shocks and laughter. Characters unpredictable yet addictive. If you loved the first season, don’t worry this one isn’t a let-down.

Ma (2019)

Octavia Spencer stars in this new horror from Blumhouse Productions. I have to admit this one was very different from other horrors that I’ve seen. We all know that horrors love to create a quick background to delve into this setting and new characters (or old ones). ‘Ma’ definitely did this, although this part was the majority of the film, rather than the first ten minutes. What actually happens in the trailer doesn’t happen until the last twenty minutes of the film. What the whole film actually entails is a story of five teenagers and their sudden new friendship with Sue Ann (Octavia Spencer) – a kind woman who has brought them alcohol. Or so they thought…

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Octavia Spencer sings as the best actor of the film. To be honest, the others aren’t great, but it doesn’t take much away from the film, you just have to ignore those awkward moments. Regardless, Sue Ann is such an interesting character. ‘Ma’ really explores in detail why she feels the urge to be the way she is, and in some ways you feel sorry for her, really feel pity towards her. It spends a lot of time building this character for the audience.

As a horror it definitely has jump scares, there were a few moments that got me jumping out my seat (although I’m an easier scare). The horror element is more creepy, as you don’t know what is going to happen. You’re just waiting for this character to explode as she stalks, tracks and follows the young teenagers. Additionally, the film does come to an abrupt ending. It’s all very sudden when everything starts to kick off and it is really exciting in a horror sense of a film. But then it’s over, where it could have told so much more afterwards.

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‘Ma’ was an enjoyable (as they can get for a horror) film. It was interesting to understand what had happened to this main protagonist and discover what she is going to do, what she is planning. The camera angles are intense throughout the whole film, with a lot of extreme close-ups. It is an intriguing film, different to other horrors. I might watch it again in the far future, but don’t think I’ll be jumping to this one time and time again.