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

 

 

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Kill the Irishman (2011)

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Jeremy Walters (Screenplay) Rick Porrello (Book)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini, Tony Darrow, Robert Davi

 

Plot: The true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970’s.


Tagline – Based on the true story of Danny Greene the man the mob couldn’t kill

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Gangster Biopic

 

Story: Kill the Irishman starts in Cleveland 1975 where somebody tries to kill Irish thug Danny Greene (Stevenson) where detective Joe Manditski (Kilmer) fills in the past relationship between the two. We learn how Danny rose from smart worker to take over the union and begin ties with the Mafia John Nardi (D’Onofrio).

As Danny builds his reputation through Cleveland becoming somewhat of a Robin Hood figure, as he tries to leave the life behind even with his connections still strong, it soon becomes the challenge that no one could find a way to kill Danny.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Irishman

 

Characters – Danny Greene is a working man in Cleveland, he makes the connections within the Mafia he becomes one of their thugs before leaving the life to become a real businessman until he crosses them and becomes the target for a bounty on his head. John Nardi is the connection within the Mafia, that one that befriends Danny and offers the guidance he needs. Joe Manditski is the detective that is trying to keep everything in order and with his previous relationship with a younger Danny, he knows the character of Danny better than anyone. Shondor Birns is one up the next step up in the ladder of the Mafia that trusts Danny, only a business deal goes wrong and he puts the first hit out on Danny.

PerformancesRay Stevenson is great in this leading role, this is easily he best leading man performances of his career. Vincent D’Onofrio is good in the supporting role as are the whole supporting cast including Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and a host of faces we are used to seeing in gangster movies.

StoryThe story here follows the rise through the Mafia of Irishman Danny Greene through Cleveland through the 1970s, his story become big news for the area and some people saw him as a hero, others a criminal. We see how the gangster world is unfolded when the lines between right and wrong are crossed and the self-destruction from within will be their biggest weakness. This does follow most of what we do know from the genre and being based on a real person shows how the world can be easy to become the latest victim off. The time jumps in the storytelling are annoying because we don’t truly get to see just how much success he is having in the film.

Biopic/CrimeThe crime world we enter is what we know, gangster who will kill anyone that crosses them. The biopic is everything we need to see as we learn about Danny Greene.

SettingsThe film keeps us in and around Cleveland with a 70s feeling throughout the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Danny knows what is happening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Vinnie Jones’ Irish accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at one of the members of the gangster that’s story helped change thing how the Mafia too.

 

Overall: Good biopic on the Irishman.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – I – Immortals (2011)

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides (Screenplay)

Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans, John Hurt, Joseph Morgan

 

Plot: Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity.


Tagline – The Gods Need a Hero

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Glossy Greek Muscles

 

Story: Immortals starts in a world where the immortals battled, the winners became Gods, the loser became Titans and buried under the mountain. With King Hyperion (Rourke) destroying village after villages in search for a stone that will grant him power. An average farmer Theseus (Cavill) trained in combat sees the war come to him, he is destined for greatness as the Gods watch over him with Zeus (Evans) knowing who will win the battle, but unable to interfere.

With the oracles including Phaedra (Pinto) knowing the truth about Theseus, she plans to release him and his fellow prisoners to go into battle against King Hyperion before becoming part of his plan.

 

Thoughts on Immortals

 

Characters – Theseus is from a quiet village that has lived in peace, but when the war comes to him, he must us his fighting skills to defeat the tyrant trying to conquer the land ad fulfil his destiny. He is the man that we see in many of these titles, a man that is meant to bring people together. King Hyperion has been taking control of the land of Greece, his armies are not taking prisoners in their conquering ways. This is a villain we are used to seeing because it is one that will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Stavros is a thief that joins Theseus and with this gets to plant the comical lines in places. Phaedra is the oracle that has seen the paths in which Theseus will take, believe he can bring the country to the freedom is deserves. Zeus is the all powerful God that is watching from the skies, he doesn’t want to interfere in this battle or any of the Gods to with the punishment of death.

PerformancesThe actors all have the look for their roles, so that won’t need discussing anymore. Henry Cavill is fine in the leading role, he doesn’t handle the emotion moments enough, but is saved with the fighting. Mickey Rourke is always good as a villain and he does a good enough job for the film. The rest are fine they just have nobody that sticks out long enough to be memorable.

StoryThe story plays into the idea of Gods and Titans that once ruled Greece, we see how they watched over the world waiting for the war which the humans will bring on themselves, now they must wait to see if the on man can fulfil the destiny. This is sword and saddles with what you are expecting to see after seeing 300. It all works fine but won’t become one of the more memorable within the genre.

Action/Fantasy/RomanceThe action is the highlight of the film, with plenty of big sequences that are left to see elements of the mythology. This dives us into the fantasy world we will be entering and there is a weaker romance side to the story.

SettingsThe film makes us feel like we are part of this world with ease, though most scenes look like they are from the same location and not looking special enough.

Special EffectsThe effects are nice to see because they play into this over the top style the film tries to make its own. Zeus coming to Earth is the highlight moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Hammer time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Feels long.

Final ThoughtsThis will keep the fans of the films like 300 will enjoy this one, this is an entertaining watch if you don’t need to want to think and can be enjoyed.

 

Overall: Simple saddles and swords.

Rating

 

 

Oscar Isaac Weekend – Sucker Punch (2011)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Zack Snyder, Steve Shibuya (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm, Scott Glenn

 

Plot: A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, envisioning a plan to help her escape.


Tagline – You Will Be Unprepared.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sexy & Stylish

 

Story: Sucker Punch Starts when Babydoll (Browning) is se to a mental institute by her evil step-father, looking to cope with this new world, she creates an alternative reality where the other patients Sweet Pea (Cornish), Rocket (Malone), Blondie (Hudgens) and Amber (Chung) entertain clients for Blue Jones (Isaac) the orderly who in this world is a gangster.

Babydoll has a plan to escape which involved winning over the girls, most support him, while Sweet Pea isn’t so happy to go along with the plan, with each performance putting the girls in a life or death situation outside of the current reality.

 

Thoughts on Sucker Punch

 

Characters – Babydoll is thrown into a mental home after trying to defend her younger sister from their abusive stepfather, here she knows she has five days before it is lights out, which means she must plan her escape, which sees her create alternative reality where she can escape the hands of the people who will end her life. Sweet Pea is the eldest the girls in the home, she is most opposed to going through with the escape plan, believe it will get the rest of the girls in trouble. Rocket is the first of the girls to let Babydoll in after being rescued by her, she guides her around the home teaching her just what they need to know to survive. Blondie and Amber some off as the two naïve of the girls as they will go along with any idea which would make their lives easier. Dr Gorski looks after the girls preparing them for their performances. Blue Jones is the one that runs the club, an orderly in the home that holds the key to the only exit.

PerformancesEmily Browning in the leading role fits the part perfectly, we needed her character to look the youngest of the group. Abbie Cornish fits the oldest of the girl’s role well too because she see her vulnerable side through the film, while trying to be the strongest. Jena Malone plays the middle ground between the girls well as we see just how conflicted her character becomes through the film. When we get into the supporting cast, we do know that we performances that fit the film without looking out of place in any point in the film.

StoryThe story can be cut down to a simple escape plan movie, that would be the simplest way to describe the story, only this isn’t a simple movie. It creates worlds, within worlds to cope with an impending outcome for Babygirl. The idea that we jump into other realities does help the film feel a lot more enjoyable because the wildly imaginative ideas only improve the story, even if it could have borrowed from many subgenres. While this does have a comic book feel and you could easily see more chapters being added to make more adventures, it does have to go down as original in the story front, something that shouldn’t ever be criticised.

Action/FantasyThe action is massive set pieces each one from a different eras from a samurai to war, they all work and feel unique to this film, which is filled with fantasy ideas of just what the characters use to create the world they can fight through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just where the girl’s minds will go through the performances, each one makes the mission to escape feel like we are fighting for something.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic, they show us just how you can create something this visually stunning no matter how big it could be.


Scene of the Movie –
Dragon fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Blondie and Amber are too similar.

Final ThoughtsThis is a truly ambitious movie, it shows us just how you can make an original movie which will completely go against anything you believed you would be seeing.

 

Overall: Brave, ambitious, wildly over the top, what more could you want?

Rating

 

 

Tom Hiddleston Weekend – War Horse (2011)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis (Screenplay) Michael Morpurgo (Novel)

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Niels Arestrup, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.


Tagline – Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship.

Runtime: 2 Hours 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Incredible Story

 

Story: War Horse starts as the poor farming family Narracotts, former war veteran Ted (Mullan), wife Rose (Watson) and son Albert (Irvine) end up with a horse that shouldn’t be able to work on a farm that Albert manages to teach how to plough, being the only one Joey will listen to.

When the latest crop fails, Ted is forced to sale Joey to the military once the first World War breaks outs, Captain Nicholls (Hiddleston) takes him promising to bring him back safely, however much it breaks Albert’s heart. When Captain Nicholls is killed in action, we see Joey’s next chapter in the war, as Albert enlists in an attempt to become reunited with Joey on the front lines.

 

Thoughts on War Horse

 

Characters – Albert is the farmers boy that proves he will never give up and shows us when it comes to training the horse, which will achieving things it should never get through, he has bonded with Joey who is taken away from him, determined to be reunited with Joey, he enlists in the British army heading off to World War I to fight and find his horse. Ted is the war veteran father, who drinks to get over his problems with what happened in his own battle, reckless in his behaviour, he must make the difficult decision to sell the horse. Rose is the ever-supporting wife and mother that sees the good in both her husband and son, knowing while they might clash they will forever be doing the right thing. Lyons is the landlord that is making the life of the Narracotts difficult forcing him into the decisions that could take the family out of their home. Captain Nicholls is the man that buys Joey, taking him to the war promising to keep him safe and return him after the war with Major Jamie Stewart being the one that naively going into battle underprepared.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are impacted by the number of characters involved in the film, with the likes of Hiddleston and Cumberbatch left with only supporting roles where they make an impact with their limited time. The two main stars of the film would be Jeremy Irvine and the horses themselves that go through the biggest struggles through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the incredible journey through the first World War that a horse endured being forced to work for both the British and the Germans, somehow surviving through the difficulties both sides were facing. We see how one young farmer’s boy risks his life to head to war in hopes o finding his horse in a battle which would take millions of lives. The story itself is incredible, the pacing of the story however does feel inconsistent because we spend ten to fifteen minutes with each chapter, which never gives us enough time for the impact of those scenes.

History/WarThe history involved in the First World War is a moment that changed everyone involved, this is clear from the characters we see, each war scene does feel realistic even if it is more focused on the less graphic moments involved.

SettingsThe film uses the settings wonderfully to make us feel like we are involved in the scenes with the war scenes showing us how difficult the moments were for the men and horses.


Scene of the Movie –
Running free in no man’s land.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not getting enough time with each of the characters we meet.

Final ThoughtsThis is an incredible story showing the journey of one horse through the first World War, this creates the shocking truth of war, while it does lack the time spent on each character.

 

Overall: Incredible story of one horses journey through war.

Rating