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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The Neon Demon (2016)

neonDirector: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Poly Stenham (Screenplay)

Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

 

Plot: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: UMMMMM ZZZZZZ I Think

 

Story: The Neon Demon starts young naïve model Jesse (Fanning) who at the tender age of 16 moved the LA to make a name for herself, striking up a friendship with make-up artist Ruby (Malone) she finds her way to model agent Roberta Hoffman (Hendricks) who starts her on her trail to stardom.

As Jesse stars to rise up the ranks in the modelling world she meets all the other models that have all gone to their own lengths to get into the world, but will she let this new world consume her.

The Neon Demon is a film I can honestly say I really just didn’t understand or of the bits I did understand I feel it comes off like a poor version of Starry Eyes. The film is full blown artsy with lots of long shots of pretty much nothing happening other than music. In the end I found myself wanting this to be a lot shorter and have a more rounded story.

 

Overall: Artsy messy film really

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The Girl on the Train (2016)

girlDirector: Tate Taylor

Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson (Screenplay) Paula Hawkins (Novel)

Starring: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney

 

Plot: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner Thriller

 

Story: The Girl on the Train starts as Rachel (Blunt) travels by train to and from work watching the lives on the people the train bypasses with her favourite being Megan (Bennett) and Scott (Evans) who are living the life she had wished for from the failed marriage. We go onto meet Megan who is tired of her life and her job as the nanny for Anna (Ferguson) the new wife to Tom (Theroux) Rachel’s ex-husband.

When Megan goes missing Rachel becomes one of the suspects where she can’t remember her past with her drunken behaviour and it isn’t long before she finds herself getting personally involved with the lives. It is only time until we look to find the truth to what has really been happening.

 

Thoughts on The Girl on the Train

 

StoryWhen you look at the story you will find yourself wondering when Desperate Housewives got its own movie because the three women characters are filled with baggage you wouldn’t expect to see come together. The story jumps between these women with Rachel looking at what she wanted, Anna being paranoid about Rachel and Megan being slightly unstable when it comes to where she wants to be in her life. These characters are filled with way too much money to be taken seriously by the average person and the missing person case is just there and hard to follow.

Mystery/ThrillerThe mystery in this film comes from what happened to Megan with the thriller side of the story we are left to guess what will happen next.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters all feel like the cast of Desperate Housewives all have too much money to be considered everyday people, all liars and cheaters hugely flawed human beings. When we look at the performances they are all solid but due to the lack of interest in any of the characters it is hard for the stars to shine through to the levels they should.

SettingsThe settings show just how upper class the people involved seem to be in the story you sometimes just get taken away from the story being told.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very slow over complicated mystery thriller that just doesn’t reach the levels it could.

 

Overall: This was just hard work and incredibly boring.

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North by Northwest (1959)

northDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Writer: Ernest Lehman (Screenplay)

Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G Carroll, Josephine Hutchinson, Philip Ober

 

Plot: A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Classic

 

Story: North by Northwest starts as New York advertising executive Roger O Thornhill (Grant) is taken my Phillip Vandamm (Mason) and his man believing he is George Kaplan a spy. Setting up to kill Roger he is filled with booze but escapes by finding himself arrested.

Roger teams up with his mother Clara (Landis) to figure out who this Mr Kaplan with the people in the hotel believing him to be and no one believing the story of his events, searching for the truth takes him right across the country where he meets the beautiful Eve Kendall (Saint) who aids in his escape but not everything is what it seems for Roger.

 

Thoughts on North by Northwest

 

StoryThis is the classic Hitchcock thriller that tells us the simple story of being miss-identified by all the wrong people with nowhere to turn to. This is a thriller that shows us that the idea that could easily be what inspired many a movie in modern times. The story had plenty of twists and turns along the way which at the time would have kept you guessing what will happen next at the time.

Action/Mystery/ThrillerThis has action when the chase scenes with the mystery of what is going on happening very early on with the thrilling side of the story keeping you guessing from the start to the finish. All the genres mix together to give us one of the most ground breaking thrillers of all time.

Characters/PerformanceRobert is a great everyday man who ends up in the middle of the bigger conspiracy going on with each of the people he meets either offering something new or a threat for his life. Cary Grant is brilliant in this role showing he was the star of the era with the rest of the cast all shining close to his level throughout.

SettingsEach setting is used to show how Robert is looking to escape or answers to what is going on. We have the iconic scenes in the crop field, Mount Rushmore and the opening shot overlooking New York.

Final ThoughtsThis will always be looked at as one of the best thrillers of all time that did truly inspire so many of the films we get in modern cinema.

 

Overall: An absolutely classic that could never be beaten.

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