Sylvester Stallone Weekend – Driven (2001)

Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay) Jan Skrentny, Neal Tabachnick (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Stacey Edwards, Til Schweiger, Gina Gershon, Estella Warren, Robert Sean Leonard

 

Plot: A young hot shot driver is in the middle of a championship season and is coming apart at the seams. A former CART champion is called in to give him guidance.


Tagline – Get ready for the race of your life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sports Drama

 

Story: Driven starts as we get to see how a racing season is going, Beau Brandenburg (Schweiger) the reigning champion starts shinning until rookie driver Jimmy Bly (Pardue) starts becoming competition for the title. When Jimmy starts to fade, team manager Carl Henry (Reynolds) brings back former champion Joe Tanto (Stallone) to help keep the head on straight of the rookie driver.

With Joe back to be used as an experienced blocker to help Jimmy, it is Jimmy that will need to make the difficult decisions and with his brother and manager Demille Bly (Leonard) who is trying to control the young drivers ever movement. Can he get the title won on his rookie season or will the pressure get to him?

 

Thoughts on Driven

 

Characters – Joe Tanto was the once great driver, former champion and past his prime, still considered one for the experience factor. He needs to help guide the rookie who is destining to become champion, while facing his own personal regrets. Carl Henry is the owner of the team, he knows Jimmy will become champion and will do anything to make sure his team brings the title back. Jimmy Bly is the rookie making big waves in the sport, controlled by his brother to avoid the pressure that comes with being at the top. He makes the rookie mistakes and need guidance to become champion. Beau Brandenburg is the champion, the best in the game right now even if he can come of arrogant at times. Sophia is the girlfriend of Beau, she has been for years now and after a disagreement she befriends Jimmy adding extra tension between the two potential champions. Demille Bly is the brother and manager of Jimmy, he is trying to control every decision of his career, he is the closest to being the villain in the film.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone is solid enough for this film he fills in the mentor role well enough. Burt Reynolds as the team manager works for the film, we needed an older figure in this role. Kip Pardue does suit the rookie driver well even certain parts of the script are poor. Til Schweiger, Estella Warren and Robert Sean Leonard are good in the supporting roles which give them a chance to have fun with their roles.

StoryThe story follows a rookie facing a champion for an unlike season in race car driving, we see the good and bad moments for the whole field, the pressures thrown on the young driver, with a friendly rivalry being created between the two. We have the older mentor role needed to keep the head on the straight for the younger driver. While being a Formula One fan I can enjoy a good rivalry film which this does give us even if the races have been intensified for the cinematic audience. We get lesson to be learnt by the drivers, team and managers which this season will give us.

Action/SportsThe action in this film comes from the races, while the special effects used have dated horrendously the flat out racing is a join to watch. The sport side of the film gives us a look into the racing industry and just how dangerous it can be when racing for victory.

SettingsThe film takes us around the world to different race tracks used in the sport in real life.


Scene of the Movie –
The accident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The special effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film the fans of racing will enjoy, it has good sequence even if the special effects are weak, it does feel like we are watch Cars the live action movie.

 

Overall: Racing fun film.

Rating

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Goal III (2009)

Director: Andrew Morahan

Writer: Mike Jefferies, Piers Ashworth (Screenplay)

Starring: Kuno Becker, JJ Field, Leo Gregory, Kasia Smutniak, Anya Lahiri, Nick Moran

 

Plot: The heroes compete on the greatest stage of all, the FIFA World Cup Finals.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Soap Opera Boredom

 

Story: Goal III starts as we follow three footballers from Real Madrid Santiago (Becker) and two England internationals Liam (Feild) and Charlie (Gregory), they have finished their season and now the World Cup is on the horizon. Charlie gets a movie role, Liam will need to find a new club, which sees him return to Newcastle, while Santiago gets an injury which sees him ruled out of the world cup and leaving Real Madrid.

The Santiago watching from the touchline and seemingly forgotten about in this movie, we focus on the England lads who must learn life lesson while trying to make history.

 

Thoughts on Goal III

 

Characters – Santiago was the main character in the first two movies, here he is just the teammate that watches his teammates play in the world after getting injured, we have the smallest possible scene of him looking back at the love he lost in Roz, though they don’t mention names. Liam is being released by Real Madrid, returning to Newcastle, where he discovers a big surprise, a daughter he never knew he had, Liam must learn to give up his party style life to become the father he never knew he could be. Charlie remains at the big club, he gets a film role and meets the girl of his dreams, with his life turning around, he is ready to make history. Sophia is the actress that Charlie falls in love with, she is willing to make a new life with him too.

PerformancesKuno Becker has been the highlight of the franchise until this film, he is barely in the film which disappoints greatly. When we look at the newcomers JJ Feild and Leo Gregory, they both struggle in this film too. In fairness none of this acting is in any way shape or form near the standards we are used too.

StoryThe story decides to make this film become an England story by pretty much writing Santiago out of the film, with his teammates needing to sort their careers and lives out during the World Cup. First problem, this is going to be a list,

·        we have no timeline between the end of the last one and the events in this one.

·        Where did Gavin Harris go?

·        Who are these two new players, are they world beaters or just squad fillers?

·        Why did we forget Santiago’s story, which the franchise is about?

·        When did this become a soap opera?

Enough of the lists now, we do seen to have a script that feels like scraped soap opera, because everything that happens is too unrealistic, with too many, badly delivered lines. Plus that ending, really, are we ending a trilogy like that?

Romance/SportsThere is a romance in this film, it isn’t realistic in anyway though, the sports side of the film also takes a backburner here to life, we are meant to care if these players can make an impact right?

SettingsThe film is meant to be follow the England camp preparing for the world cup, we are meant to be in Germany, though we never see any locations to make us believe this.


Scene of the Movie –
Ummm, pass.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Pushing Santiago to the background.

Final ThoughtsThis is a terrible finally to the franchise, this forgets the original character turning the film into a soap opera.

 

Overall: Painful watching.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Goal II: Living the Dream (2007)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Mike Jeffries, Adrian Butchart, Terry Loane (Screenplay) Mike Jefferies, Adrian Buchart (Story)

Starring: Kuno Becker, Stephen Dillane, Leonor Varela, Elizabeth Pena, Carmelo Gomez, Miriam Colon, Rutger Hauer, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel

 

Plot: When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move – accompanied by big money and fame – tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.


Tagline – The Journey Continues…

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Goal II: Living the Dream starts with Gavin Harris (Nivola) now playing for Real Madrid, noting having a good spell at the time. Santiago as continues to thrive in Newcastle planning to marry Roz (Friel), until Real Madrid come knocking for him.

Santiago signs for Real Madrid where he must learn to cope with added fame and fortune, a long-distance relationship with Roz and being in the headlines every night, let along a personal twist to his past.

 

Thoughts on Goal II: Living the Dream

 

Characters – Santiago has now been signed by the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, the spotlight is now firmly on him, he has too much money for a young footballer, in another new country, he starts to become reckless, against the character Roz fell for, as well as making bad life decisions, much like what Gavin was doing. He must deal with learning about what happened to long lost family members in the most important stage of his career. He has taken a complete turn from the supportable young man trying to follow his dream in this film. Gavin Harris has made the move before Santiago, he has been struggling to make an impact in the new team, he has tried to turn his life around, he is in competition with Santiago for a place in the team. Roz is planning the wedding between the two, she struggles with the distance apart knowing it would difficult, she doesn’t enjoy the spotlight either. Rosa is the long-lost mother of Santiago, she can’t believe he has come to her town which has seen her raise a new family one with another gifted young footballer.

PerformancesKuno Becker does struggle with the character switch he goes through, he doesn’t know how to truly make us feel sympathetic to his characters decisions. Alessandro Nivola does get us plenty of laughs through the film. Anna Friel doesn’t get enough time to make impact like she did in the first film, while Elizabeth Pena does bring another dimension to the film.

StoryThe story follows Santiago in the next stage of his career, here he will play for the biggest club in the world and must learn to deal with new problems including fame and fortune, one that all new footballers will need to face at a younger age. This story does feel strange because we don’t see the time frame between the two movies, we don’t know how successful Santiago became at Newcastle, but it can only be a couple of seasons. The switch in character of the grounded Santiago is strange because he never wanted to cave the pressure and this time, he is doing everything recklessly. Add in the fact this is about reaching a cup final it just feels to cinematic to be a believable story, unlike the first film. the romantic side of the story does feel like it is just tagged on making little impact on the main story, it is the story of the long-lost mother and the truth about what happened that does make the biggest impact on the story.

SportsThe football success chasing is strong, but does feel too cinematic with the goals mostly being unrealistic.

SettingsThe film takes us to Spain and the elite living class of a footballer, we see how they can walk in anywhere to be known, but it does give weather to feel like home.


Scene of the Movie –
Meeting mum.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The goals scored are ridiculously fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel, mostly because it changes the character, we got to know too much from the first film.

 

Overall: Sequel that doesn’t live up to the original.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Goal! The Dream Begins (2005)

Director: Danny Cannon

Writer: Mike Jefferies, Adrian Butchart, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais (Screenplay)

Starring: Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel, Stephen Dillane, Sean Pertwee

 

Plot: The extremely talented Santiago Munez is given a chance at professional football, after being spotted by a scout who has ties with Newcastle United.


Tagline – Every Dream Has A Beginning

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Excellent Sporting Drama

 

Story: Goal! The Dream Begins starts when Mexican immigrates move to LA to start a new life, Santiago (Becker) works for his father’s business, turning to football to relax, where he excels. When former scout Glen Foy (Dillane) sees him play, he believes he could make it professionally, turning to his old boss to give him a trial at Newcastle United.

Santiago makes the trip getting a one-month trial, here he must learn the more difficult side to football, to prove everybody including his father, who never wanted him to follow his dreams, while Newcastle have spent heavy on their new signing Gavin Harris (Nivola) a flashy player whose reputation of a playboy lifestyle follows him around.

 

Thoughts on Goal! The Dream Begins

 

Characters – Santiago Munez is an immigrate kid living in LA, grown up to work with his father to keep the family together, he is a brilliant young footballer though, which he plays in his free time. He gets spotted by a former player that wants him to travel to Newcastle for a trial, a moment which could change his life forever, first he must prove his worth, showing determination to go with his skills and learning how to handle the fame which fellow playboy player could show him the darker side. Glen Foy is the former Newcastle player and scout that see Santiago play football believing he could one day be a big star, he pushes Santiago into travelling, though he would make this happen for him. Gavin Harris is the playboy style footballer, a big money signing that is all flash on and off the pitch, he does show Santiago the wrong path, only to learn just as much from him. Roz is the nurse that Santiago falls for, she doesn’t like the celebrity status around footballers, which will see her have to question why she is interested in Santiago, only to see that he is different than most footballers.

PerformancesKuno Becker in the leading role is strong, while some of the footballing stuff isn’t great to watch, the determination his character needs to show through the difficult moment in his life. Alessandro Nivola as the playboy footballer is entertaining to watch through the film, in the supporting roles we see Stephen Dillane and Anna Friel both doing their roles with ease.

StoryWhen we look at the story, we have a cliched, but enjoyable rags to riches story of a young man whose life gets turned upside down when he gets offered a chance to play football for one of the biggest teams in the world. we see how he must learn to adapt to a new country and culture, be put in pressure situations of just new fame, while remaining grounded requiring the approval from his father. One of the key aspects that makes this story enjoyable is the fact we are not watching Santiago join a team about to win something, they are looking to achieve the next level of success. We know how this will end as a story because it does follow the trend of a sports drama without fail.

Romance/SportThe romance in the film comes from Santiago’s relationship with Roz, though it does take a backburner to the sports drama which is front and centre of this film.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the different locations Santiago has come from, be it Mexico, the hot sunny street of LA or the cold muddy Newcastle, this will give him something to adapt too.


Scene of the Movie –
Making the squad.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Why is Gavin Harris taking a penalty with Alan Shearer in the team?

Final ThoughtsThis is a football fans favourite type of sports drama, an unknown comes to save your team in their moment of need become an overnight legend in their eyes.

 

Overall: Fun football drama.

Rating

 

 

ABC Challenge – Biopics – # – 42 (2013)

Director: Brian Helgeland

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Lucas Black

 

Plot: This movie is about Jackie Robinson and his journey to becoming a Brooklyn Dodger and his life during that time.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Sports Biopic

 

Story: 42 starts with the history of baseball and how after World War II there was 400 players in the MLB and they were all white, the black players had their own league until 1947 when the number dropped to 399. Branch Rickey (Ford) wants to bring the first black man to the major leagues for the Brooklyn Dodgers against everything the world at the time suggests, that player is Jackie Robinson (Boseman).

Jackie must start in a feeder team and must put aside the segregation issues that is still going through America, Jackie and his wife Rachel (Beharie) must show they have the thick skin to deal with the abuse from the crowd, other players attitude and prejudices going through America to become a trailblazer for the African American Baseball players.

 

Thoughts on 42

 

Characters – Looking at the characters we are looking at real people this time and one Jackie Robinson who would stand up for what he believed in while making his name on the baseball field, he becomes the trailblazer given the chance to become the first black major league baseball player defining all the segregation problems going through America. Branch Rickey was a bible loving owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers who wants to make a difference in the game giving Jackie a chance to change the game so he could be owning a victorious team. Rachel is Jackie’s wife that stands by him through the discrimination he experiences.

PerformanceChadwick Boseman is fantastic in this role showing that he was going to be a huge name in the future. Harrison Ford gives us one of his best performances of his elder career that is outside his known franchises, with Nicole Beharie doing well with the character she has to work with.

StoryThe story of Jackie Robinson is the stuff of legends on America, the trailblazer for African America baseball players fight on and off the field against the discrimination he faces to become the star of the season. We get to see how the country of America was so far behind the times with their equality that is still happening without being as serious as it once was. This is an important history lesson if you are a fan of baseball, sport and history in general.

Biography/SportsJackie Robinson is an icon of the sport of baseball, this shows how he fought off everything to become that icon.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different worlds that Jackie must walk into with different opinions on the difference in race.

Scene of the Movie – The team standing up for Robinson against ben Chapman.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I don’t understand baseball.

Final ThoughtsWhen you look at sports biopics you will always see an icon born and this shows just how Jackie Robinson became the legend the game knows and is a must watch.

 

Overall: Must watch for sports fans.

Rating