Jessica Chastain Weekend – Lawless (2012)

Director: John Hillcoat

Writer: Nick Cave (Screenplay) Matt Bondurant (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman

 

Plot: Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Standard Historical Crime Story

 

Story: Lawless starts as we meet the three brothers Bondurant, youngster Jack (LaBeouf), Forrest (Hardy) and Howard (Clarke), the eldest two have a reputation of being indestructible, the three are bootlegging alcohol during the prohibition era in America. Business is great and their reputation keeps people away from.

This changes when Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Pearce) arrives looking to clean up Franklin County, Virginia, this helps Jack learn how to be part of the business in the violent side of the business. This leas Jack to make a deal with the deadliest bootlegger Floyd Banner (Oldman) and the war begins between gangs and cops.

 

Thoughts on Lawless

 

Characters/PerformanceJack is the youngster brother, he has always looked up to his brothers to do the dirty work but now he wants to get out there and get his hands dirty, Forrest if the toughest member of the family, he the one conducting most of the business and he will also be the muscles when someone messes with them. Howard is the eldest member of the brothers, he survived the war and now looks for fights while drinking. Charlie Rakes is the man trying to shut down the bootlegging business, he will kill the people involved to send his message. Floyd Banner is the biggest name in the business and now he works with the brothers but will kill anyone who crosses him.

Performance wise, Shia is good in the leading role fitting the part of lead well, Hardy is the best performer where here as the ruthless member of the team, otherwise the rest of the cast are all good throughout the film all doing what you would expect from the genre.

StoryThe story follows the bootleggers during the prohibition era in America, we see the rise of one, the downfall of another an mostly just how things went down in the battle to be the men that get turned too for supplies. This isn’t the most interesting story as none of the characters are overly likeable.

Crime The throws us into a crime world of the prohibition era which shows us just what this would have been like for the men involved.

SettingsThe settings show us just how shady the operations were on the back-country roads on America.

Final ThoughtsThis is fine, nothing special movie that can easily be forgotten when it is all set and done.

 

Overall: Fine but nothing special.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – Z – Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Mark Boal (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong

 

Plot: A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011.


Tagline – For ten years one woman never stopped searching for the most wanted man in history

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Intense Thriller

 

Story: Zero Dark Thirty starts as we see how Maya (Chastain) joins an interrogation unit ran by Dan (Clarke) who is looking for answers to the location of Osama Bin Laden, the man behind the 9/11 attacks.

As the information gathers, so does her desperation to catch and kill Osama, this shows on how she goes against any orders to follow leads, as well as risking her life to get to the moment in history where Osama Bin Laden was killed by a Navy SEAL team.

 

Thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty

 

Characters – Maya is the lady we are following through this whole film, she is determined to use the intelligence gathered to kill Osama Bin Laden, she stands up to authority and never backs down from a lead. We get to meet a whole host of other people that either taught, worked with or tried to stop Maya along the way.

PerformancesJessica Chastain is brilliant in the leading role, she once again shows us all the talent she has when it comes to being in a leading role. We have a host of actors that went onto become leading men here too including Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt showing that once again Bigelow knows how to select the next big things.

StoryThe story follows the manhunt for Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks, we follow the 10-year pursuit for the terrorist as we follow one lady who would never give up on finding the man, using the information gathered to bring this man down. This showed us just how many people took a part in the biggest manhunt known to man. The story unfolds in order as we see each lead set the people in the right direction they need to take to bring down the terrorist.

ThrillerThis does keep you on the edge of your seat as you see the mission unfold, even if we do know the end of this story.

SettingsThe settings take us to the events of the terrorist attacks, and the locations the mission would have taken place in.


Scene of the Movie –
Night mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is an excellent look at how Bin Laden was taken down, the people who gave up time in their own lives to bring down the terrorist.

 

Overall: A must watch for the thriller fans out there.

Rating

 

 

 

Great Expectations (2012)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: David Nicholls (Screenplay) Charles Dickens (Novel)

Starring: Toby Irvine, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, William Ellis, David Walliams, Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter

 

Plot: A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic story

 

Story: Great Expectation starts as we meet the orphaned boy Pip, living with his sister and brother in law Joe (Flemyng) a blacksmith raising Pip to be his assistant. After Pip learns of a better life he dreams of becoming a gentleman in London after spending time with Miss Havisham (Carter) and her own orphan Estella.

Now a young man Pip (Irvine) gets to move back to the city after an unknow inheritance, so leaving his family and friends behind, Pip gets to start on the road to becoming a gentleman. Pip finds himself needing to learning the hierarchy of the wealthy as he also wants to know who gave him the chance to become one of the gentlemen of the city and even after his childhood sweetheart Estella (Grainger) returns to his life, love takes over his life.

 

Thoughts on Great Expectation

 

Characters/PerformancePip is a young man who dreamt of being a gentleman in London, but achieve this he must learn a new way, forget his past and even find himself wondering about who put him in a position of power while dealing with love. Magwitch is a prisoner that Pip helped at a young age and a man that comes back into the life to learn the truth about the past. Miss Havisham is a lonely woman left heartbroken after being conned and left at the alter, she has been teaching Estella about the ways of the man, teaching her to never love. Estella is the young woman that Pip falls in love with when they are children and no as adults doesn’t believe she has a heart even though Pip wants to love her.

Performance wise, we have a very impressive cast that all give us wonderful performances fitting into the period piece that this film is.  

StoryThis is one of Charles Dickens classics tales and one I was unfamiliar with, so I thought I would give it a go. This story shows the social hierarchy during the early 19 century, this is one that has forbidden love, revenge and a position of what would be the right thing in life. I do feel this is one story people should be enjoy even if this might not be the best version.

RomanceThe romance side of this comes from Pip falling for Estella and is left wondering if he could fall in love during a time when status would put people together.

SettingsEach setting makes us believe we are in the time the film is set whether it be the small marsh like area of the city of London.

Final ThoughtsClassic story and one that goes in a direction you could only find yourself wanting to know more about.

 

Overall: A must watch for classic literature fans.

Rating

 

 

Cloistered Honey (2012)

If you want to see this movie, you can check it out on Amazon Store here

Director
: Laura Lewis-Barr

Writer: Laura Lewis-Barr (Screenplay)

Starring: Carrie Lee Patterson, Steve Ratcliff

 

Plot: While trying to avoid a hive of moody bees Abe must convince his runaway wife, Helen, to come home from an empty monastery. ‘Cloistered Honey’ is a mystery, a love story, and an exploration of what we believe and why.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Examination of Relationship

 

Story: Cloistered Honey starts as Abe (Ratcliff) has tracked down his wife Helen (Patterson) who has runaway to random monastery to help care for the bee hives. Abe is trying to figure out what drove Helen to leave him as we follow the two through the scientific, philosophical and emotional discussion to learn what the two scientists now have in different.

 

Thoughts on Cloistered Honey

 

Characters – Abe and Helen are a once happily married couple, who specialise in science, now Helen has turned to religion for answers about where she wants her life next, Abe challenges her new look on life, as he still follows the scientific beliefs. The two are reasonable about their discussion showing both their cards on the situation they are facing, proving to feel like a real couple going through a bump in the road.

PerformancesThis is a performance driven movie, we only have the two stars in Carrie Lee Patterson and Steve Ratcliff, they must work well together for this movie to work and they do deliver through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a couple that have found a bump in the road and must come together to talk about the situation they find themselves in, learn about the mistakes they may have made in the past or face a future apart. The story comes off honest, it doesn’t play into the hands that either one has made a terrible mistake rather than needs to take notice of smaller details. The way the story comes off could easily become a play, because if you want an wilder known example of something similar with different discussion, think Carnage, which is about the performance of a story being told.

Comedy/RomanceThe film does have moments of comedy, which more often than not come from Abe trying to be funny but tackles the romance people will have for each other.

SettingsThe film keeps the singular location which makes sense while the discussion between the two people are making.


Scene of the Movie –
The bee time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We could have had a slightly more broken look about Abe to start with.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very good look at how relationships can need discussing which feels like a sensible look at how things can be discussed rather than rushing into rash decisions.

 

Overall: Smartly written relationship drama.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Facility (2012)

Director: Ian Clark

Writer: Ian Clark (Screenplay)

Starring: Aneurin Bardnard, Alex Reid, Chris Larkin, Amit Shah, Jack Doolan, Steve Evets

 

Plot: Seven volunteers find themselves fighting for their lives when a drug trial goes horribly wrong.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Missed Opportunity Here

 

Story: The Facility starts as seven volunteers Adam (Barnard), Joni (Reid), Arif (Shah), Morty (Evets) Carmen (Lourie), Katie (Roberts) and Jeb (Coleman) where they get a drug known as Pro9 with Dr Mansell (Larkin) conducting the experiment.

When something goes wrong, the subjects must now wait to see how they will be effected by the drug as each person gets different effects and who has been given the real drug or a placebo.

 

Thoughts on The Facility

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam is the post-grad student looking for a quick fix on cash, we follow his journey to the facility but otherwise learn little about him, this is going to be the case for all the characters. Joni is a young woman that has been going through different experiments so she knows the protocol, much like Morty, we also have a journalist, a student, a jock and Arif who could have been used better. The characters are easy to place in this film but not many get enough or any back story.

Performance wise, we have average at best performance through the film, nobody stands out or gets enough time to develop which is a shame but just not enough going on here.

StoryHere is the pitch, let’s lock seven people in a building, giving them a drug and see what happens as they start to go crazy, this sounds interesting it really does for a horror film, but in the end it just turns into a film that is desperate to find new ways to try and kill the victims without us needing or wanting to care about any of the subjects involved.

HorrorThe horror is there in idea but not in execution because everything just turns out to be flat when it comes to scares.

SettingsThe film is set inside one building but there is an easy escape which only disappoints because you don’t feel this is the experiment that can be contained.

Special EffectsThe effects are about how badly this film wants to have the extra gore kills but only fail while doing them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a bland horror that missed the marks, it has awful editing which just jumps around all over the place not making any sense to certain sequences either, the acting isn’t that good either and in the end you will forget this horror.

 

Overall: Poor horror that missed a chance to be great.

Rating