George Clooney Franchise Weekend – Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

oceanDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Brian Koppelman, David Levien (Screenplay) George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell (Characters)

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Elliott Gould, Eddie Jemison, Don Cheadle, Shaobo Qin, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Ellen Barkin, Andy Garcia

 

Plot: Danny Ocean rounds up the boys for a third heist, after casino owner Willy Bank double-crosses one of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: My Favourite of the Series

 

Story: Ocean’s Thirteen starts as Danny (Clooney), Rusty (Pitt) and Linus (Damon) returning to Vegas after Reuben (Gould) gets screwed out of everything he had by ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Pacino). Bringing the team Livingston (Jemison), Basher (Cheadle), Yen (Qin), Virgil (Affleck), Turk (Caan), Frank (Mac) and Saul (Reiner) back to Vegas to give Bank a chance to return the money to Reuben which he refuses.

6 Months later the team are back together looking to pull off a revenge job on the Grand Opening of the casino. With the team in place we get to see how this latest heist unfolds right back where it started, but just how do they pull it off?

 team

Thoughts on Ocean’s Thirteen

 

StoryWhen you see how where the characters have been and how they all came together in the first two films this story feels like the final completion on their jobs. With this story, we have the most personal revenge job as one of their own has been struck by the villainous casino owner, unlike Benedict who has been fair with his ruthlessness Bank takes things past the bounds of fairness. We do get to see role reversal with our characters which adds to the twits along the way. I personally find this the most enjoyable watch of all three of the films.

Crime/ThrillerThe heist side of this film is just as slick as the first film which is just what you want from this film. you are kept guessing to where the heist will go too.

Characters/PerformanceWe know the characters by know and they are all great once again, the inclusion of Willy Bank is good because he is ruthless compared to Benedict but in the negative the loss of Tess is questionable. The performances are all great as each star knows how to make the most of every single scene they are in.

SettingsI am delighted they moved this film back to Vegas because when these characters are looking to rob a casino you love seeing how everything unfolds.

Recommending ScaleI would be giving this the seal of approval and you can Bank on that.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far the most fun the series has and you can find yourself gripped to every scene enjoying the heist unfolding.

 

Overall: This is easily the most enjoyable of the series.

Rating

 card

 

Franchise Completion Weekend – Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

resDirector: Russell Mulcahy

Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson (Screenplay)

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Christopher Egan, Spencer Locke

 

Plot: Survivors of the Raccoon City catastrophe travel across the Nevada desert, hoping to make it to Alaska. Alice joins the caravan and their fight against the evil Umbrella Corp.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sequel

 

Story: Resident Evil: Extinction starts with Dr Isaacs (Glen) performing tests on Alice (Jovovich) only to learn he has a clone army of Alice’s looking for one that can meet the abilities of the original Alice.

We jump forward years now with the world destroyed left in a desert like state and Alice a lone traveller in this wasteland. Also, travelling the wasteland Carlos (Fehr) and Claire (Larter) lead a convoy of survivors around staying one step ahead of the undead using the safety in numbers idea.

When the two collide, they find themselves on the run from Umbrella as Dr Isaacs is searching to the original Alice to help complete his research in the hunt for a cure for the T-Virus.

 

Thoughts on Resident Evil Extinction

 

StoryThe story continues the adventures of Alice and shows how Umbrella are still experimenting within this world. My issue with this story is the major jump in time, the first two are almost over two days but this jumps forward in years to the full destruction of the Earth that is covered with infected. This other problem with this story is that you can’t go back to fill in the gaps so the sequels after this must work around the world being in this condition which isn’t where the games are. For this franchise of films this is slightly out of character as a story but like the first two it is just a group of survivors trying to survive waves of the undead before Alice faces a big boss like enemy, not the most original but a tried and tested formula.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is bigger once again, the horror is weaker once again but overall this is all you need from this video game adaption.

Characters/PerformanceAlice continues to show off her character’s true abilities which continue to get unlocked through the film. Carlos also returns but offers nothing new and we get another video game favourite Claire Redfield joining the survival, but she is written as a leader but isn’t as strong as Jill. We also have a new primary villain in Dr Isaacs who is working on Umbrella research and is mostly the same as we had last time.

As performances go Jovovich continues to make herself the icon of the series and she is good at this. Glen adds the class in the villainous role without excelling and Ali Larter does well but the character isn’t written well enough for my liking. The rest of the supporting cast are all fine and good for the few scenes they are in.

SettingsHaving the film set in the desert leaves me feeling slightly mixed because I do feel that is needed to be a slow improvement in size rather than going almost worldwide, but I also like the big environment because it offers the film a chance to go in a different direction.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all good but not the best they could be, because of the film you are willing to let things go in places too.

Final ThoughtsWhen you watch the whole franchise through this one does feel like the longest but is also does help take the series to a larger scale.

 

Overall: Opens the door for the franchise to become bigger.

Ratingcard

 

 

Anton Yelchin Weekend – Charlie Bartlett (2007)

charlieDirector: Jon Poll

Writer: Gustin Nash (Screenplay)

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr, Hope Davis, Kat Dennings, Tyler Hilton, Mark Randall, Dylan Taylor

 

Plot: A rich kid becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant High School Film

 

Story: Charlie Bartlett starts as Charlie (Yelchin) finds himself expelled from a private boarding school for making fake driving licences, returning to live with his mother Marilyn (Davis) as he agrees to try a public school. Charlie makes an impression on his first day with his naïve nature to the high school experience, where he shakes off the bully and not having social status to continue his kind nature.

Charlie continues to find ways around his problems with Susan Gardner (Dennings) being the love interest, Murphy (Hilton) as the bully he confronts to deal with the problem where he comes up with the idea of selling his medication. Charlie’s new plan does become more difficult when the Principal Gardner (Downey Jr) installs cameras in the student lounge. Charlie starts his own business as a psychiatrist for the students holding sessions in the boys room fast tracking him to the most popular kid in school.

 

Thoughts on Charlie Bartlett

 

StoryThis story is a high school comedy drama about one boy coming from a wealthy family who enters the public high school system and using his own intelligence to help the kids with problems no one is listening to. We do get the typical situations going on with bullying, anti-social behaviour to certain students and a relationship between students with one being the principal’s daughter. The story really does look at how difficult the high school experience can be on the students and if the students could talk the problems through themselves they can help each other find what they want from life.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy going on through this film feels very much like a modern Ferris Bueller which all works because none of it feels forced. The romance is pretty much what you would call a standard high school romance angle.

Characters/PerformanceAnton Yelchin gives what could easily be considered his best performance of his career as the character shows confidence through each situation even if he is dealing with his own problems. Robert Downey Jr shows he can easily play a supporting character with this Principal character that works well because he is open to help with the problems. As for the rest of the cast each performer gives great performances making the character’s work for the story being told.

SettingsNearly all of the film is set in and around the high school setting which of course is all that is needed for a high school comedy drama.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most underrated high school comedy dramas I have ever seen, the character of Charlie shines through to be one of the most important characters in high school films I have ever seen with the power of Ferris Bueller but the smarts to keep everyone together.

 

Overall: Easily the most underrated high school movie out there.

Ratingcard

 

 

Already Dead (2007)

alreadyDirector: Joe Otting

Writer: Joe Chappelle (Screenplay) Robert Archer Lynn, David Alford (Story)

Starring: Ron Eldard, Til Schweiger, Patrick Kilpatrick, Geoff Pierson, Marisa Coughlan, Christopher Plummer

 

Plot: When Thomas Archer’s happy & successful life is all but ruined following a horrific attack he is presented with a perfect opportunity to exact physical revenge upon the man who caused all his grief. However the immediate consequences of his actions and inactions are much more complicated than he imagined. Who will survive ?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull Thriller

 

Story: Already Dead starts as we see Thomas Archer (Eldard) having to follow instructions by mobile as he is looking to get his son back from a kidnapper. We continue to watch Thomas take instructions as he runs the events of the night when his son was taken through his mind.

As the night continues he gets put through tests by the man on the phone including being able to get revenge on the man that killed his son, but are these just tests where they criminal is getting this man to do his dirty work. We watch how the twists are laid into plan for this film as they come thick and fast.

Already Dead gives us a story which asks you the question just how far would you go to get revenge on the person who took and killed your son, but it also throws a twist in their where we have to deal with the idea the cops have created a game to rid the streets of criminals of people they don’t want or can’t deal with through legal reasons. I would question certain character decisions because after what happens would these two men be friends, I think not.

Onto the acting and what can I say, this doesn’t have the best acting from any of the people involved with the lead struggling to make any sort of impact in the screen and most of the supporting cast barely doing anything of merit.

 

Overall: Thriller that lacks all the punches it needs to truly stand out.

Ratingcard

 

 

August Rush (2007)

august-rushDirector: Kirsten Sheridan

Writer: Nick Castle, James V Hart (Screenplay) Paul Castro, Nick Castle (Story)

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard, Robin Williams, William Sadler, Marian Seldes

 

Plot: A drama with fairy tale elements, where an orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift as a clue to finding his birth parents.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Fantasy Drama

 

Story: August Rush starts as we meet Evan Taylor (Highmore) a young boy at an orphanage who believes in the music to life as he dreams of finding his long lost parents. We flashback to the night Evan’s parents Lyla (Russell) a member of an orchestra and Louis (Meyers) a rocker from England.

Evan is determined to find out about his parents and sets out on an adventure with music guiding him to learn just who his parents really were. On his adventure Evan meets Wizard (Williams) who has been guarding other orphans in the big city who all have dreams of becoming musicians on their own and it is here where Evan learns to play the music he has only ever heard before.

August Rush plays into the idea music can bring everyone together regardless of the style it is always about just how it is played. We get to see how you can regret moments in life but the ones that are most important are were always meant to be. We get a story that shows us all how you can believe in your own dreams no matter who stands in your way. We also get a great performance from Freddie Highmore along with great performances from the supporting cast. This a film that went right under the radar and does deserve the time to go out and watch.

 

Overall: Delightful story that can be watched by all the dreamers out there.

Rating75