Franchise Weekend – Ripley’s Game (2002)

ripleyDirector: Liliana Cavani

Writer: Charles McKeown, Liliana Cavani (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: John Malkovich, Dougray Scott, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, Chiara Caselli

 

Plot: Tom Ripley persuades a man to commit a murder for a large sum of money. The situation goes out of control, and that man must escape trouble.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Ripley’s Game starts as we see an older Tom Ripley (Malkovich) trying to make a deal that his partner on this case Reeves (Winstone) has ruined the full amount on. 3 years later Tom is back in Italy in his mansion.

Trying to live a quiet life Ripley’s old partner is back Reeves wants Ripley to help him with a problem back in Germany with Ripley looks at his neighbour Jonathan Trevanny (Scott) to do the dirty deed as a final attempt to help Jonathan financial future with his sickness.

When Jonathan does the job, he has to deal with the consequences that has Reeves continue to contact him to do other jobs for him but has he found himself in the middle of a deadly game that only Tom can save him from.

 

Thoughts on Ripley’s Game

 

StoryThis is a follow up to the 1999 film taking place years after the events in that film. Ripley is in full control of his abilities now and his ability to complete any job required. The problem I have with the story this time is that it feels like a heist film gone wrong rather than a smart slick con-artist film. I just don’t think this film clicked on the levels of the first film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story does in fact feel bigger throughout this film it just doesn’t balance with the thrilling side of the story leaving the crime elements feeling average because Ripley is designed to be slick with his actions.

Characters/PerformanceMalkovich is always an interesting performer and his grabs this role and makes it his own but when it comes to both the performance of Scott and Winstone they feel out of place to the world created making it hard to be pulled into the world we are watching this time around.

SettingsThe first film captured the background if Italy perfectly this time around everything just feels slightly messy with not a single scene being iconic when it comes to seeing what we do with the character’s decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is really a sub-par sequel that never reaches the heights of the Talented Mr Ripley.

 

Overall: Heads in the wrong direction for what the film had created.

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Franchise Weekend – The Talent Mr Ripley (1999)

talentedDirector: Anthony Minghella

Writer: Anthony Minghella (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport, James Rebhorn. Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: The Talented Mr Ripley starts as we meet Tom Ripley (Damon) living in New York who has been teaching himself music while getting by without people noticing him. When he meets million Herbert Greenleaf (Rebhorn) he sees potential in Tom and sends him to Italy to bring his playboy son Dickie (Law) back home.

Arriving in Italy Tom introduces himself to locals as Dickie before putting himself into Dickie’s and Marge Sherwood’s (Paltrow) life as he befriends him explaining how he got asked to travel to Italy to bring Dickie home.

The three enjoy a holiday through Italy as Tom studies Dickie he strengths, weakness and tendencies. After falling out of favour with Dickie, Tom kills him and decides to cover it up with Marge while becoming Dickie to the rest of the world but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on The Talented Mr Ripley

 

StoryThe con-artist film focuses on how one man who has been using his skills to keep his appearance up. The film is slow moving with a well over 2 hour run time but this just helps with the development of the story. Everything plays out that the rich have too much money for their own good making sure they stay above anybody else while Tom goes out his way to become one of them. The story is told brilliantly as we come to understand Ripley’s decision making process through the film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime going on is always being covered up by Ripley as we are being kept on edge waiting to see what will happen next throughout the film. We get kept on edge as the suspense works almost perfectly through the film.

Characters/PerformanceMatt Damon shines in this leading role as Mr Ripley becomes one of the most fascinating characters from the 90s. Paltrow and Law give brilliant performances in supporting roles while the ever-impressive cast of Blanchett, Hoffman, Rebhorn and Davenport all give excellent performance too.

SettingsItaly makes for a stunning backdrop for the film as we see the lifestyle Tom could only have dreamed of living but soon starts taking part in.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fascinating films of the 90’s which is full of powerhouse performance from one of the most impressive cast in film.

 

Overall: Truly interesting film that grabs your attention from start to finish.

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – May (2002)

mayDirector: Lucky McKee

Writer: Lucky McKee (Screenplay)

Starring: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris, James Duval, Nichole Hiltz, Kevin Gage, Nora Zehetner

 

Plot: A lonely young woman traumatized by a difficult childhood and her increasingly desperate attempts to connect with the people around her is sent into a murderous tailspin.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gem of a Horror

 

Story: May starts as we meet the socially awkward veteran nurse May (Bettis) who has spent years struggling to fit in due to her insecurities about her lazy eye. When she sees Adam (Sisto) she decides to take a chance to try and impress him grabbing his attention.

When things don’t go to plan May decides to take drastic action to make sure she gets a chance to lice the happy every after she has only ever dreamt of having.

May is a film that even at 13 years old is one that keeps getting spoken about as one of the most popular within the horror fan scene. It is easy to see why this is too because the character May is created perfectly for this genre and her actions drawn from not fitting in like most horror characters. While this does have moments that come off slow the slow build gets excellent pay off in the final act.

 

Overall: One of the true horror gems that I would expect all horror fans to have seen.

Rating75

 

 

 

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

millionDirector: Craig Gillespie

Writer: Tom McCarthy (Screenplay)

Starring: Joe Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Alan Arkin, Lake Bell, Tzi Ma, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal

 

Plot: A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Indian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: What Sports is All About

 

Story: Million Dollar Arm starts JB (Hamm) a sports agent trying to make his own company reach new levels with his partner Aash (Mandvi) only to find himself stuck behind the higher-level competition. Losing the star client to the competition the two search for a new potential income as they search for new clients in new fields.

JB new idea is to bring over Indian cricket players and turn them into baseball pitchers within a year and recruiting pitching coach Tom House (Paxton) now he needs to find a scout to travel with him to find the best prospect.

JB must work with Vivek (Jariwala) to get his equipment retired scout Ray (Arkin) and Amit (Pitobash) a baseball coach in India who wants to work him for free. The search for the Million Dollar Arm is on sweeping through India. With the competition in full flow they find two players Rinku (Sharma) and Dinesh (Mittal) to take back to America.

As the two boys struggle with the new culture JB must keep the business together while the two players must learn to improve their skill in 6 months can it be done and the seemingly impossible risk can become sports new miracle.

 

Thoughts on Million Dollar Arm

 

StoryThe story follows the true story of how one sports agent takes the chance to bring Indian crickets to America to become baseball pitchers. On the surface this is a marketing campaign but the story itself gather heart because of the bond between JB and the boys. This is an underdog sports story with glimpses of the clash of culture between both sides of the world. This shows you can succeed with the effort and determination of the people who support you and that you could find success in any story.

Sports/DramaThe sports drama is very interesting because baseball isn’t a sport I have any interest in watching but the scouting and training in any sport do interest me a lot, this had my full attention as we see how it can be the personal life that cane make you a better athlete when it comes to competing because having the people supporting you can make you succeed.

Characters/PerformanceJon Hamm as the selfish sports agent that takes a risk with a new investment but his character never seems to support the boys he takes the risk on once they are back in America. Jon Hamm give us a great performance stepping up from television to the big screen. Sharman, Mittal, Pitobash, Mandvi and Jariwala all give great performances in their roles as we see the characters must deal with a new culture as well as new sport in what is a once in a life time opportunity. Alan Arkin has a small role but gets good laughs as the retired scout.

SettingsThe settings are used excellently with to show the different cultures being used through the film as we see the American fast forward glamorous lifestyle while India shows how together the people are with the religious beliefs going on there.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very interesting and compelling sports drama about showing how you can achieve what seems impossible to others by just take the chance, I feel everyone who likes a success story will enjoy this one even if you are not a baseball fan.

 

Overall: Delightful sports drama that can be enjoyed by all.

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Get Out (2017)

Director: Jordan Peele

Writer: Jordan Peele (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson

 

Plot: A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intensely Tense Thriller

 

Story: Get Out starts as Chris Washington (Kaluuya) a black photographer from Brooklyn agrees to go meet his white girlfriend Rose’s (Williams) parents. Travelling to this quiet country town Missy (Keener) and Dean (Whitford) along with Brother Jeremy (Jones) brings the family meeting together.

Chris is put on edge when he learns the only other black people he meets are the help, in the gardener and maid, after a haunting dream the paranoia continues to grow until he gets a stark warning from the only other black guest he meets at a party. I don’t want to get into much more but we are left wondering just what is going on and why from early on within the film.

 

Thoughts on Get Out

 

Characters/PerformanceChris is a man with a disturbing past, growing up without a parental figure, he is a self-made man with his photography and also understands that there is still casual racism in the world, not wanting to get into any arguments over someone trying to be accepting. Rose is the girlfriend who assure Chris there is no problem with his skin colour to his family. Missy and Dean are the parents trying their own way to get to know Chris both well-educated and falling into the embarrassing style of parent. Rod is the best friend of Chris and clearly is the most interesting, funny and audience feeling character, everything he says is what we are feeling about the situation.

Performance wise, Kaluuya is great in the leading role throughout the whole film, Williams, Keener and Whitford are also all great and I must say just how entertaining LilRey Howery was through the whole film.

StoryThe story is filled with racial motivation in how the characters are treated, Chris is just how you could imagine a black man in the world now, accepted by a large part of the world but still having another group trying to be nice by saying things wrong, casual racist who have no hate in their actions. While that is just the surface of the story it does have twists and turns along the way with most you know coming. I do have my own theory that this is a racial twist on Stepford Wives but the final reasoning does come off slightly farfetched in places but works for the horror when you think about it.

Horror/Mystery The horror is very much an idea that when you think about it, it will stick with you because it is shockingly disturbing what is going on here, I did like the mystery about what was going on too because we are left to work it out and even have a character give us wild guesses too.

SettingsMost of the film is in the small country town where we see how the white residents still only have black people as the help and haven’t adapted to the free world completely.

Special EffectsWe only have a few special effects here and each one adds to the bigger horror involved in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that will stick with you, make you never want to meet the in-laws but also has enough comedy not to be clouding over the big story too.

 

Overall: This is a major contender for the horror film of the year.

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