Movie Review: Suffragette

suffragette

The women of 1912 England fight for women’s rights in “Suffragette”

Throughout the 20th century, women around the world fought for equal rights. They risked everything-family, jobs, and most importantly, their courage to fight for this gigantic issue. While Great Britain was struggling to have women the right to vote, America passed the 19th amendment in 1920. The fight for equal rights is still going on today.

Suffragette proves it.

Director Sarah Gavron and screenwriter Abi Morgan bring 1900s London to life in this unflinching but flawed historical piece. After delivering a phenomenal performance in Far from the Madding Crowd, Carey Mulligan hits it out of the park again as Maud Watts, who has a loving husband (Ben Whishaw) and a loving son (Adam Michael Dodd). She has been working underground as a laundry worker ever since she was a child. Along with other protesters including Violet (Anne-Marie Duff) and Edith (Helena Bonham Carter), Maud begins to support women’s rights under Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep, in an extended cameo, unfortunately), but she must play cat-and-mouse with the State.

I would not be surprised if this gets nominated for any Oscars (we all know how much the Academy loves Streep). I definitely wanted more. Other than that, I’m glad I went to see Suffragette.

3/4

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Movie Review: Spectre

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) go on a mission to find out the origins of the evil organization in

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) go on a mission to find out the origins of the evil organization in “Spectre”

Spectre is the 24th entry in the long-running 007 franchise, which started in 1962 and made Sean Connery get his biggest break of his acting career. Five other actors decide to step in with their gadgets and tuxedos and save the day with style. Daniel Craig was first introduced in 2006 with Casino Royale. He became the new sex symbol. With his tough physique and quick wit, he has hit it out of the park as Bond. The movie, under the direction of Martin Campbell, had brisk-paced action (which the series is known for), a menacing villain, a nail-biting game of poker, and featuring one of the most intense torture scenes ever. Following Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace didn’t quite live up to what its predecessor succeeded. The choppy editing and the minimal charm it had made it such a disappointment. With Skyfall, however, it was such a breath of fresh air to have nonstop thrills and Bond showing up face-to-face with one of the most menacing villains in the franchise, brilliantly played by Javier Bardem. Sam Mendes made one gorgeous entry.

Craig recently said Spectre will be his last outing as everyone’s favorite agent. But the franchise will never die.

The movie opens up in Mexico City. The Day of the Dead parade is in full motion. James Bond (Daniel Craig), wearing a skull mask, is on a mission to assassinate two men planning to blow up a stadium. He fights one of the men in a helicopter hovering in the middle of the parade (action at its finest). He suddenly sees a ring with an octopus symbol on it. Suffering from a midlife crisis, he returns to the MI6 in London. The new M (Ralph Fiennes) is facing a new enemy, Max Deinbigh–which Bond refers to as “C” (Andrew Scott), decides to reshape the organization.

Bond goes to Rome to meet Lucia (Monica Bellucci, who looks amazing at 51). She states her husband was part of an evil organization. This leads him to go to Austria to meet Madeleine Swann (the lovely Léa Seydoux), a French doctor working in a private medical clinic in the Alps. They have a relationship together, and comes to the conclusion that the symbol resembles SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). They embark on a mission to trace the origins of the organization which connects to Bond’s past and eventually encounter the mysterious Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz).

Mendes brings the beauty and thrills that made Skyfall such a massive hit. He also brings the traditional 007 roots back. For instance, the gun barrel sequence starting the movie off with a bang (pun intended) and Bond preferring to have a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred). There is one scene involving a fight between Bond and Oberhauser’s mute henchman Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista, Guardians of the Galaxy) reminiscent to From Russia with Love. The Aston Martin makes its way back to the franchise with its high-tech gadgetry (i.e. seat ejector, machine guns) set up by no other than quartermaster Q (Ben Whishaw). Waltz’ Oberhauser has subtle menace that makes him a mystery. Without spoiling too much, those who are familiar with the Connery era, there would be little surprises once the movie begins wraps up.

2015 has been a year for strong, independent women. Seydoux gives a fresh take on the Bond girl. Compared to Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, Swann is more of a real person. She’s more than a pretty face. She’s strong, independent and smart who prefers not to live in a world of espionage. If this is Craig’s last film, he gives a one hell of a send-off. If Tom Hardy doesn’t take his place, I don’t know who will.

3.5/4