Antono Banderas Weekend – Haywire (2011)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Lem Dobbs (Screenplay)

Starring: Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas

 

Plot: A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.


Tagline – They left her no choice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Action

 

Story: Haywire starts as Mallory Kane (Carano) a black ops soldier for the CIA is currently on the run after her partners Aaron (Tatum), Kenneth (McGregor), Rodrigo (Banderas) an Alex (Douglas) have set up to eliminate her. Mallory looks back on her career with the mission which things went wrong, one where she must get to know a MI6 agent Paul (Fassbender).

Mallory needs to bring down the men who have been setting her up, while finding the only person she can trust John (Paxton) her father, here she knows she can trust him to help her expose the corruption that is framing her.

 

Thoughts on Haywire

 

Characters – Mallory is the black ops soldier, now on the run after being set up by her own people, she uses her skills to remain ahead of them, using her combat skills to disarm the situations and tries to figure out who she can trust. This is basically a female version of Jason Bourne. Kenneth is the one the liaised on the last mission and the one that is currently after Mallory, he answers to people above his head, while control the ones below. Paul is the agent that Mallory is meant to meet, the one that she ended up coming to blows with leading to her to being chased. We have the people above Mallory that just want to see a mess cleaned up, while others are just facing orders.

PerformancesGina Carano is the star of the showing in the leading role, she handles all the action with ease and makes us believe she could be a threat for anybody who messes with her. The supporting male cast handle the heavy dialogue scenes, which takes away the one weakness Gina could have.

StoryThe story follows a black ops soldier that must clear her name, while being hunted down by the employees after a mission goes wrong. This is a style of story we have seen before, it is one that is a tried and tested formula, this way of telling the story, however, is weak, mainly because we are doing a large part of it in flashback style, which takes away any peril in the film for Mallory. We also try to get over-complicated with the motivation behind trying to frame her and by the end we don’t feel like we have experienced a tense enough action film. the music doesn’t help this movie either because it makes it feel like we are just watching slick heist movie.

ActionGina Carano does her best to save this film with her action star abilities with combat, they are the only enjoyed scenes in the film.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world for the action scenes, showing this to be a worldwide operation.


Scene of the Movie –
The hotel escape sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end fight feels like just a training montage.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action film that had potential, only for it to become to average with the story, with the one highlight being Gina Carano.

 

Overall: Basic action flick.

Rating

 

 

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Antonio Banderas Weekend – The Skin I Live In (2011)

Director: Pedro Almodovar

Writer: Pedro Almodovar, Agustin Almodovar (Screenplay) Thierry Jonquet (Novel)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Eduard Fernandez, Jose Luis Gomez

 

Plot: A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Chilling & Disturbing

 

Story: The Skin I Live In starts as we see how Robert’s (Banderas) research as a plastic surgeon has helped create a new form of synthetic skin to help burn victims recover from the pain they suffer through, he has a guinea pig for this, Vera (Anaya) who has been suffering the pain for years, though his research has made it bearable for her, with her special body suit to protect her.

Robert can’t get approval from the medical boards to continue his work, which shows as it turns out Vera is being hidden from the world, though he does have his own motives for trying to find a cure after a tragedy involving his wife and daughter.

 

Thoughts on The Skin I Live In

 

Characters – Robert is a plastic surgeon with a tragic past, he lost his wife due to the after effects of a fire accident and his daughter to another. He doesn’t want anyone else to go through these pains and has created a new synthetic skin to help recover damaged skin on burn victims, the question is, will he go too far in his search for answers? Vera is the guinea pig, still suffering just as badly as she once was, she has a bond with Robert while also wanting to escape from him. Marilia is the mother of Robert, he has remained loyal to her and she has helped him with his projects no matter whether they are right or wrong. Vicente is a young man from the town that commits a horrible crime and believes nothing of it.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is unlike anything we have seen from him before, cold, calculated and always planning, it is a very disturbing performance for the most part. Elena Anaya is great in her role as the guinea pig which only makes you think how good her performance is once you learn the full story. Marisa Paredes gives us a good strong supporting performance and Jan Cornet is great in his role in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a plastic surgeon trying to make a difference in the world, he has a guinea pig locked away as he tries to make a skin that is harder than normal ski to help recovery, only he is haunted by his past and has taken shocking decisions along the way to change it forever. The story starts off feeling like an interesting science related one, then suddenly it takes a big twist that will leave you needing to re-digest everything you saw in the first half of the film. this is a story that will stick with you because of how chilling and disturbing the story gets and will make you want to pause and react before learning the next chapter of the secret. A story like this is one you must applaud for being different surprising and one that will stick with you.

HorrorThe horror elements of this film come from what we learn, they will shock you and disturb just as much as they should.

SettingsThe film keeps us in Robert’s house for the most part, it is isolated away from the world, just the way he likes it, which has helped his patients before only now, it will be for his own benefit.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth is the moment that will stick with you.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lost track about what is finally happening to Norma, his daughter.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most shocking and disturbing movies you will see even if it starts seemingly harmless.

 

Overall: Will leave you shocked.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Thor (2011) Revisited

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings

 

Plot: The powerful, but arrogant god Thor, is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.


Tagline – Two worlds. One hero.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Highly Entertaining

 

Story: Thor starts when astrophysicist Jane Foster (Portman) discovering a cosmic event in the New Mexico desert with her team Erik Selvig (Skarsgard) and Darcy (Dennings). We head up to Asgard next as Odin (Hopkins) tells the history of his people, the battle with the frost giants, his two sons Thor (Hemsworth) and Loki (Hiddleston) that will one day replace him as King.

When the Frost Giants try to enter Asgard, Thor decides to lead a team to retaliate, which sees Odin banish him to Earth. Thor must learn his place in the universe, with Jane helping him, while Loki takes his place as King of Asgard even if his past sees him wanting the events of the film to happen.

 

Thoughts on Thor

 

Characters – Thor is the son of Odin, he is soon to become King, but his over confrontational nature sees him disobeying his father’s orders, he is a fearless warrior who is banished to Earth, without his powers. This is a lesson for him to learn about fighting the right wars, not starting them, until he learns this, his powers won’t return to him. Janes Foster is an astrophysicist that has been searching for answers in the cosmos, her research has seen her finding unexplained answers in the universe, she could finally get answers with Thor’s appearance, she is willing risk her career for answers. Loki is the brother of Thor, he has been planning on taking over Asgard instead of his brother, he knows his past and has been waiting for his moment to become King. Odin is the king of Asgard, he has kept the peace for centuries and is running short on patience for his son’s action, he wants to teach Thor a lesson, while needing to tell Loki about his own past.

PerformancesChris Hemsworth is fantastic in the leading role, he has the look and shows the comic timing which has become the staple of his character. Natalie Portman is strong enough even if the character is disappointing, Tim Hiddleston shows us his calm persona behind his character, with Anthony Hopkins doing everything you would imagine he would bring to a father figure.

StoryThe story here follows Thor as he must learn his truth strength when it comes to one day become King of Asgard, this will see him losing his powers and learning to control his desires while his brother is positioning himself for power. Thor is yet another character we knew very little about going in (unless you read the comics), we get to see his past, how the world he is from is created, the dynamics behind the characters involved, even before we get to Earth. On Earth we learn more about the SHIELD and how they are still investigating the bigger picture of unexplained weapons. This does show us just how important waiting for power is more important than being given power, we get to see how another hero is introduced to us for the bigger picture.

Action/Fantasy The action is at the large scale here with the battles being hordes of enemies for Thor at times, we do get the giant battle against the enemy physically bigger and stronger that Thor must learn to defeat as well as the traditional final fight which shows us the sacrifice a king must make. The fantasy world created shows us the world of Gods being real, being one away from our own, while still being connected in folk lore.

SettingsThe vision of Asgard is beautiful, with towering buildings, a place where you would imagine Gods living. The second settings takes us to New Mexico which plans into the fish out of water scenario.

Special EffectsThe effects are the best in the franchise to date, the pure scale of the enemies involved, the worlds created and fight sequences makes this look beautiful to watch even with the CGI heavy usage.


Scene of the Movie –
Bifrost fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts of Loki’s plan seem confusing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the enjoyable comic book movies you will see, we get the big action sequences, we get some laughs and we see the star of Chris Hemsworth take full advantage of his opportunity.

 

Overall: Great Fun.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – U – Untouchable (2011)

Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

Writer: Olivier Nakache, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, Eric Toledano (Screenplay)

Starring: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Josephine de Meaux, Clotilde Mollet

 

Plot: After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.


Tagline – Sometimes you have to reach into someone else’s world to find out what’s missing in your own.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful

 

Story: Untouchable starts as Philippe (Cluzet) is forced to look for a new caregiver after his own accident, he sees a string of qualified applicants, but when he meets Driss (Sy) a man from the projects, he sees someone different and hires him.

The two men are from different backgrounds and have lived different lives, together they teach other about life, with Philippe becoming a father figure to Driss and Driss showing Philippe that his condition doesn’t need to stop having the adventures he loved just because of his condition.

 

Thoughts on Untouchable

 

Characters – Philippe is the quadriplegic that needs to hire a caregiver to help him in everyday life, he picks Driss because he is the only one that treats him like normal person. He has always been involved in extreme sports which is where his accident happened, his money will keep him away from any problems he might face, now he must learn to carry on with his own life. Driss is from the projects in Paris, he gets hired giving him a chance at a different life, his ways are different to a normal carer, but this helps him learn how to get more out of his life and get out of the troubles he has been facing in his own life. Yvonne is the personal assistant to Philippe who fills in he blanks for Driss when he is learning the job. Magalie is handles business affairs for Philippe and catches the eye of Driss, she doesn’t fall for his charm like he believes most women would.

PerformancesFrancois Cluzet is wonderful in one of the leading role, he must show so much through his facial expression which he makes us love each scene and moment he gives us. Omar Sy is fantastic too, he has such great chemistry with Francois and brings the energy required for this role. The supporting cast are all good though they don’t get as much screen time as the lead pair.

StoryThe story shows the bond between Philippe and Driss, two men that are from different backgrounds who spend time together when Driss gets hired as a carer for Philippe, we get to see how they both learn life lesson which make them grow as men. The fact we see the man with the lest experience being the best person for the disabled man shows us that life skills are just as if not more important than any training. We do go through the teaching about new cultures between the two and we get to see how both deal with their own serious problems from life. The tone of the storytelling shows us how you can have serious mixed with comedy and still get the point across which is what makes this film such an essential viewing.

Biopic/ComedyThis film uses the biopic side of the film to show the friendship created between the two men, which does change a couple of things to suit the actors. The comedy comes from just how Driss treats life with his carefree attitude which brings all the light-hearted positive vibes to the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Paris and uses the settings to show us the two different lifestyles the men have come from, we do get other trips which show us just how far they could go together.


Scene of the Movie –
Paragliding scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand the time lapse.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most beautiful movies you will see, we get to see a connection unlike anything you could imagine between two completely different people and it will leave you with a smile due to all the positivity through the film.

 

Overall: Essential watching.

Rating

 

 

Morgan Freeman Weekend – Dolphin Tale (2011)

Director: Charles Martin Smith

Writer: Karen Janszen, Noam Dromi (Screenplay)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson

 

Plot: A story centered on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap.


Tagline – Inspired by the amazing true story of Winter

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pulls on the Heart Strings

 

Story: Dolphin Tale starts when young boy Sawyer Nelson (Gamble) who doesn’t interact with the world, struggles with studies at school finds a tangled-up dolphin in a crab trap, helping with the rescue he becomes invested in helping the recovery for the dolphin, helping Dr Clay Haskett (Connick Jr) and his family at their aquamarine hospital.

When Sawyer’s only friend and cousin Kyle is injured in the forces, he wants to show him how he has gone from not caring about anything to devoting all his time to help the injured dolphin, which brings in Dr Cameron McCarthy (Freeman) who has been working on prosthetics for injured soldiers.

 

Thoughts on Dolphin Tale

 

Characters – Sawyer is the young boy struggling with his education, has become isolated from kids his age, the one person that gets through to him is his cousin after his father left. This summer Sawyer will find his purpose in life as he becomes interested in helping the recovery of the dolphin and over injured animals, this brings him out of his shell. Dr Clay Haskett is the man who runs the aquamarine hospital, he has been committed to helping animals even when people get in his way. Lorraine is the Sawyer’s mother, that is happy that he is becoming encouraged with the next chapter in his life. Dr Cameron McCarthy is the man that is tasked with figuring out how the help Winter swim again.

PerformancesThe performances in this film a great throughout, Nathan Gamble as the young boy shines against the bigger stars with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman making great choices in the supporting role.

StoryThe story here follows one young boy that finds his place in the world after helping an injured dolphin, it shows how people can find inspiration in the most unlikely locations. This is based on the real rescue efforts put on Winter, while I am unsure just how much of the rest of the story is true, I don’t want to doubt or question any of it either. The inspiration Winter gave people and the show of community helps make this a family film you can all enjoy together because the story is a successful one, no this isn’t a spoiler because the film stars Winter herself.

Family The family could all enjoy this one and it does have an important message about how to treat the animals of the world too.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a couple of locations, we spend most time at the hospital seeing how the treatment is helping Winter get better.


Scene of the Movie –
Save Winter Day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say it is slightly too long.

Final Thoughts – This is one of those movies you can sit and enjoyed without being tested, it has a heart warming story being told and can teach people about the effects we have on the ocean animals.

 

Overall: Heart warming.

Rating