Lost River (2015)

logoDirector: Ryan Gosling

Writer: Ryan Gosling (Screenplay)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Rona, Matt Smith, Ben Mendelsohn, Eva Mendes, Reda Kateb, Barbara Steele, Landyn Stewart, Rob Zabrecky

Plot: A single mother is swept into a dark underworld, while her teenage son discovers a road that leads him to a secret underwater town.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow, Boring and Ordinary

Story: Lost River starts by showing our single mother Billy (Hendricks) who has two boys who live in a town that is slowly becoming empty of residence. Bones (De Caestecker) is one of the teenage sons who spends his time trying to take copper from the abandoned buildings in the city, but when he crosses paths with Bully (Smith) the man who claims to run the copper in the city. We see how Billy is struggling to keep the roof over her family’s heads.

Bones sees his family struggling and risks going back to steal from Bully hoping for one last pay day from the man he delivers too. Bones has a friend Rat (Ronan) who he lets out that he has found a road leading into the river. Billy get given a job offer which ends up being a lot different to what she bargained for inside a specialist club while Bones investigates the mystery lost town under the river. We continue to watch to see the friendship between Bones and Rat keep them together through all the problems the town in facing. Bones sees hw far his mother is being forced to go to make money and sets out for one final score to get the family out of the town once and for all.

Lost River really tries to throw the idea of a suffering family down our throats, we get to look at unemployment mixed with the effects of small towns losing the community feeling. All these effects are achieved very well because you do feel for the family but the crazed Bully seems out of place in this film. We really do get plenty of what just happened moments but in the end everything just seems very forced to make the family go through more than they need too. The over all feel of this movie comes off strange and you never get pulled in enough before getting stuck with a very sudden ending that doesn’t answer all the questions the film gave you. (5/10)

Actor Review

Christina Hendricks: Billy is the single mother trying to find a way to keep her family home standing, for her two sons. She ends up working in a specialist club where blood and gore is the name of the game or the illusion of gore. Christina gives a solid job as the mother pushed to her limits. (6/10)

Iain De Caestecker: Bones is the eldest son of Billy’s who is stripping abandoned houses for a chance to make extra money for his family. By doing this he ends up crossing paths with the dangerous Bully all while trying to start a romance with Rat. Iain comes from nowhere to stand next to this elite cast. (6/10)bones

Saoirse Ronan: Rat is the neighbour and friend of Bones who start looking into a way out of the town together, as they look for a new start on a life that really isn’t going anywhere. Saoirse seems to be wasted in this supporting role because she meant to be leading films now. (6/10)bully

Matt Smith: Bully is the man who believes he is the boss of the town, he is very dangerous and will hurt anyone who gets involved in his business. He starts targeting Bones and all the people he is close to after he steals from him. Matt breaks out of his good guy persona he has from Doctor Who to be the highlight of the film. (7/10)

Ben Mendelsohn: Dave is the bank manager who pushes Billy into a life that she doesn’t want to be involved in to make sure she keeps the family home. He manages to get his hold over Billy just so he can get what he wants. Ben gives a solid job as the creepy character but never gets enough time to show just how far he will go. (6/10)

Eva Mendes: Cat is the manager at the club, who has to look after the woman in the club. She also tests them to see how far they can push their performances. Eva does a solid job in this small supporting role. (6/10)

Support Cast: Lost River is a film that the support cast have to come off almost as the people’s actions rather than the main characters actually do anything bad.

Director Review: Ryan Gosling Ryan does try to give his own personal touch to the film because it is shot in a way I haven’t seen before but parts do get lost in the story where he is trying to hard with the visuals. (5/10)

Mystery: Lost River has a mystery side with how the town ended up under water but it got solved easily. (3/10)

Thriller: Lost River you do start to wonder what will happen but when nothing much does it falls slightly flat. (4/10)

Settings: Lost River creates a very real small town that is falling apart which comes off very effective for the film. (9/10)

Suggestion: Lost River is one to try, I do feel people will enjoy this more than I did but I am not sure how much. (Try It)

Best Part: Setting.

Worst Part: Very Slow.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Overall: Lost River is a very slow film that never really gets into gear.



Opinion Battles Round 4 – Heist Films

opinion battles


I have had this selection pick by Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews and I think this will be an interesting discussion between the contestants. We all love a good heist movie because most of the time the leads are likeable even though they are doing something wrong.

As always I would like to thank everyone who has taken part and to everyone who has voted on previous rounds, we will be announcing the winner of the Sequel round over the next couple of days too. Our next subject will be Non Disney/Pixar Animated films and if you would like to get involved email moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk we will be covering Animé later in the year so don’t expect to see any of them make the selection. We will need your selections by 28th June 2015.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Inception (2010)inception

I am going to start with the idea that even though I do enjoy a few heist movies this isn’t my favourite subject. I do think there are some classics with Ocean’s Eleven, Italian Job, Heat and Inside Man but I have picked the ultimate heist film. I have pick this one because it involves breaking into a place no one would consider breaking into, a man’s mind with the idea of simply planting an idea something much more valuable than any monetary heist. I enjoy the planning of the heist as we see all the training to the newest member. I also think every single character is one you root for even the victim who never actually did anything wrong. The film also has two of my favourite lines in modern film both from Eames talking to Arthur ‘You need to learn to dream a little bigger darling’ ‘Your condescension, as always, is much appreciated, Arthur, thank you’. Dare I mention the mega cast of DiCaprio, Page, Gordon-Levitt, Hardy, Page, Caine, Watanabe, Murphy and directed by a certain Mr Christopher Nolan?


Reservoir Dogs (1992)


Okay, so technically this isn’t a heist movie in the most classic sense but it does have a heist in the film….that we don’t see. Oh well.

I LOVE Reservoir Dogs. More than Pulp Fiction and if I didn’t choose this I’d only have chosen a British film made in 1960 that no-one else (except Pete B and Movie Rob perhaps) would vote for. So screw it, I went with this.

Reservoir Dogs does look a little raw around the edges when compared to Tarantino’s later films but to me, it will always be one of his best.  It actually used to be my ‘birthday movie’ – I watched it every year on my birthday basically. My favourite character in Reservoir Dogs is undoubtedly Harvey Keitel’s Mr White. I love his fatherly kindness towards Mr Orange and of course, he does say the best line in the movie, possibly the whole world – “I’ve got Madonna’s big dick coming out of my left ear”. And I’ve always wanted to dress up as Mr Orange for a Halloween party – post robbery of course. White shirt and red food dye – genius!

Khalid Rafi – The Blazing Reel

Heat (1995)heat

Choosing Heat over other amazing heist movies like: Ocean’s 11, The Town and Reservoir Dogs was not an easy decision but it’s one I’m content with. The reason I love Heat so much is because it is in fact the greatest heist movie ever made. It’s gorgeously shot, marvelously crafted and there is a great deal of attention given to character and plot development which had me so engrossed that the nearly three hour run-time felt like a walk in the park. Michael Mann is one director who I feel excels at making the backdrop an integral part of the story, we saw him do this with both Collateral and Miami Vice and it is most definitely the case here as Mann orchestrates thrilling car chases, bank robberies, even when two characters are sitting and talking you know the movie is set in L.A and Mann uses the Los Angeles backdrop to his advantage on multiple occasions to advance plot and story. Another reason why I love this movie, and I’m not gonna beat around the bush here, is because it finally gave us Robert De Niro and Al Pacino sharing the screen together and really what more do you need than two of the greatest actors of their generation, possibly of all-time playing cat and mouse. Pacino’s the cop, De Niro’s the crook and Val Kilmer is pretty decent too.

Drew – Drew’s Movie Reviews

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)ocean

Not only is Ocean’s Eleven my favorite heist film, it’s one of my favorite movies of all time.  The smooth-talking Danny Ocean (George Clooney) puts together an elite team of ten others, each with their own select talents, to rob not one, not two, but THREE casinos at once.  Despite the core cast consisting of the titular eleven, Danny’s ex-wife (Julia Roberts), and the owner of the casinos (Andy Garcia), each character gets their fair share of screen time and development.  The humor is great, too. It doesn’t feel like there are any jokes, or at least the film isn’t meant to be a comedy, but I still can’t help out from busting out laughing anyway.  Clooney and Brad Pitt are the backbone of the film and the team.  Whenever they are in a scene together, you know you’re in for a treat.  Ocean’s Eleven managed to get so much right when it easily could have gotten so much wrong. For me, there is no other choice when it comes to best heist film.

The Other Critic

Fast Five (2011)fast five

After much deliberation on my part, I landed on this, the crowning jewel of the F&F movies (prior to 7, of course), Fast Five, as the best heist movie of the bunch. While not the most intelligent of heist movies, it realizes this, and does not attempt to outsmart the audience, opting to keep them along for the ride.

What are the core elements that make or break a heist movie? 1. The crew, 2. The job, and 3. The villain. 1. The crew in Fast Five all manage to have their own shining moments, without overcrowding the picture. Each has a job to do, and each is their own character. No character is superfluous, despite the film including side characters from each previous movie in the series. 2. The job in Fast Five is simple: steal all the monies from a drug lord. Nothing more, nothing less. And the payoff (possible minor spoiler alert) of the heist, with Dom and Brian pulling an 11 ton safe through the streets of Rio is nothing short of spectacular, stand-out in a film full of similarly spectacular action sequences. 3. The villain: While not the best villain in the series (Either Shaw brother beats him any day, and I’d even argue that Braga in Fast & Furious is better), Reyes serves his part as the evil drug lord with a hand in all the crime, a Daredevil Kingpin-sort of character, with an ingenious way of keeping the people under control: giving them electricity, running water, schooling, etc., to keep them from rebelling.

At the end of all of this, Fast Five is the best heist movie for one particular reason: it’s a simple watch, something you can watch anytime, without overtaxing your brain, at simple, yet entertaining film that only requires you to put it on, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. And if that ride isn’t a rollercoaster adrenaline ride, I don’t know what is.

Rob – Movie Rob

Reservoir Dogs (1992)dogs

Reservoir Dogs (1992) is the movie that made me fall in love with Quentin Tarantino’s film making style.

Most people didn’t hear about him until he made Pulp Fiction, but I somehow came across this movie when it was released on video in 1993.

Because it’s a low budget movie, Tarantino decided to save money on filming the actual heist portrayed in the movie, but rather used other moviemaking techniques to make us believe that we saw what happened during the heist despite having the movie begin during the aftermath.

The way he did this was to create a perfect mix of conversational dialogue and storytelling by the characters that we get such a complete picture in our minds of the event that creates the movie’s story without seeing one shot (from a camera or bullet) within the store.

On his script alone, Tarantino was able to gather such a talented cast who all agree to low salaries to be a part of this near-masterpiece.

Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Michael Madsen and Tarantino himself are all perfect in their roles and we get drawn in more and more as the movie moves along.
Being a fan of obscure movies let Tarantino “borrow” different elements from so many movies in order to create this film.

Among them, there are definitely blatant references to The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three (1974) and The Killing (1956)

This movie also has changed the way anyone will ever think of the song Stuck in the Middle With You

For a debut film, it quite amazing how great a movie Tarantino was able to construct.

Most people still think that Pulp Fiction is his best film, but this movie on a small budget is done so perfectly in a simple fashion that in my eyes, even the great Pulp Fiction can’t hold a candle to this excellent heist movie.

Kim – Tranquil Dreams

How to Steal A Million (1966)millions

Who says heists have to be bullets and car chases? How to Steal a Million is not only a heist movie, its embeds a very cute romantic comedy in there as well.  Plus, it has Audrey Hepburn.  Nothing quite beats her.  There just adds a little something extra charm to it all.  They just don’t quite make heist comedies like this.  Does that genre even exist anymore? There’s a little action, some good laughs and amazing chemistry between Hepburn and her partner in crime, O’Toole weaved in a rather clever plot.  

S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason

Inception (2010)

I may be bending the rules here, since Christopher Nolan’s 
Inception doesn’t feature an actual theft, but in every other way, it’s a startlingly original entry in the genre, perhaps inspired by 1984’s Dreamscape. Instead of sneaking into a heavily guarded fortress to purloin some valuable goodies, it turns this idea on its head, with the criminals (led by a fantastic Leonardo DiCaprio) sneaking into the treacherous fortress of the mind to implant a profitable idea. The characters fit right into the heist mold, even being given nicknames like “the Forger” and “the Chemist,” and there’s no shortage of risks, twists, and dangers to the covert mission. Star-studded imagination, jaw-dropping visuals, a challenging storyline that begs repeat viewing, and a compelling thread of deep emotions rather than greed make this easily my favorite in the genre.

James – Back to the Viewer

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Steven Soderbergh’s remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film of the same name delves into the classic ‘Heist’ Movie tropes with aplomb. Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts, amongst others, Ocean’s Eleven is a fantastic throwback to heist flicks from the 70s and 80s whilst stamping its own style on the recognised genre. Danny Ocean proceeds to recruit his band of skilled con men to take on Terry Benedict’s MGM Grand, Bellagio and Mirage Casinos on the eve of a Heavyweight bout, thus ensuring a take of at least $160 million. Such a grandious and ambitious attempt has never been done before so “You’re either in or your out.”

Jenna – Flick Chicks

Oceans Eleven (2001)ocean

Yes I probably should have picked the original but I haven’t seen it (pause for gasps of horror) but I have seen the 2001 remake with Brad Pitt and George Clooney and I loved it.  It was the first real heist film I guess I watched and I loved how unpredictable it was, I’ve watched it hundreds of times and I still forget certain things that are going to happen. It was also my first experience of an ensemble cast and I loved watched the various relationships develop and grow throughout the film.  Plus who doesn’t love a film where you are rooting for the bad guys?!