Blue Jasmine (2013)

Director: Woody Allen

Writer: Woody Allen (Screenplay)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard

 

Plot: A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn’t bringing money, peace, or love..

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Low Key Drama

 

Story: Blue Jasmine starts as we meet Jasmine (Blanchett) a New York socialite that’s life is falling apart after her husband Hal (Baldwin) has been found guilty of stealing millions from fake investments. Moving in with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) in San Francisco to try and build her life again.

As we see how Jasmine is remembering the memories with Hal we see how she is must learn to deal with everyday life and working for a living.

 

Thoughts on Blue Jasmine

 

Characters – Jasmine once had everything thanks to her husband, now she has lost everything and needs to learn about a new way of living. Seeing Jasmine learn to work an everyday job while trying to hold on to the class she believes she is from is what we see. Hal is the husband that cheated on and robbed the money from the investors, a full-on crook. Ginger is the sister of Jasmine, she has been working a normal life with a divorce and kids, she has the normal like of worries. We get to meet the generic people from different walks of life, the guys in Ginger’s life who are looked as overworked and slobby while Dwight is the man from a high class that makes it easy to see how things are going.

PerformancesCate Blanchett won an Oscar for her performance in this film, she is great to watch in this role fully committed to the idea of being socialite. Sally Hawkins for me is the complete star of this film as the normal life sister showing us just how difficult life can be and being so strong through each scene. The male actors in the film are good and let the actresses take the centre stage.

StoryThe story here follows a woman that needs to rebuild her life after her husband is found guilty of embezzlement ruining many lives. We flash between the two lives, the one which was falling apart and the one she is trying to rebuild. We try to get a message over about its never too late to start again and family will always be there for you. This story deals with the complications of relationships nicely as we see how people could look to hide the bad ones from the new people in their lives as well as being involved with people themselves not telling the truth. Outside of this we don’t get too much as Jasmine herself is not the most likeable character because of the entitlement she believes she has.

SettingsThe film uses two of the best location for cities in America New York and San Francisco.


Scene of the Movie –
Supermarket scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Doesn’t seem to have a real ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at how relationships can look strong as to how they can be great, bad and not work depending on how things can unfold.

 

Overall: Relationship based drama.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – B – Belle (2013)

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Misan Sagay (Screenplay)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Sarah Gadon, Tom Felton, Miranda Richardson, Sam Reid, Penelope Wilton

 

Plot: The mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Look a Historical Change

 

Story: Belle starts in 1769 when Captain Sir John Lindsay (Goode) father’s a child with a slave girl who has died. He begs his Uncle Lord Mansfield (Wilkinson) and Lady Mansfield (Watson) to care for Dido Elizabeth Belle. Facing the difficult decision Lord Mansfield accepts Belle into the household as a new friend for their other niece Elizabeth, but for the social order they must wait and see.

Belle (Mbatha-Raw) and Elizabeth (Gadon) grown up to their 20’s as Belle learns of her father’s death and potential suitors for Elizabeth with Dido staying away from visitors because of her skin colour. When Lord Mansfield agrees to take vicar’s son John Davinier (Reid) under his wing to defend the rights of the slaves after a tragic event led to the death of them on board a transport ship by the captain.

With the case running in the background Belle uses this to work with Davinier to bring down the slavery industry running through Britain while dealing with the society marriages she has found herself involved with.

 

Thoughts on Belle

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is the black woman in higher society England, only she isn’t accepted in all the ways the white high society people are. She lives in the rich homes but not welcome to the dinners but doesn’t understand the difference until she comes of age, she is a strong minded woman whose short memories of her father motivate her into wanting to make a change to rid England of slavery. Lord Mansfield is drawn into how society is meant to be but also wants the best for his adopted daughter. John Davinier is the idealistic young man who is in search for the change in slavery who sees how Belle also wants to change.

Performance wise I do feel Mbatha-Raw gives her best performance of her career to date here with Tom Wilkinson always showing us his acting class. Sam Reid is also great throughout with the rest of the cast all performing their roles just how you need them to be.

StoryThe story is showing an important part of history as we see how England had it’s first case that could bring down slavery in the country. The story unfolds showing how difficult it was for Belle in this time because of her blood line, skin colour and social standing. I think this is an unknow and important part of history that should be known.

Biography/RomanceLooking into this woman’s history was fascinating because we get to see how her choice in love help change a nation look at slavery.

SettingsEach setting looks perfect for time the film is set showing how the upper class looked at the life they had.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I wasn’t sure about but found myself enjoying from start to finish.

 

Overall: This is a good film for all history buffs to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – # – 100 Degrees Below Zero (2013)

Director: R.D. Braunstein

Writer: H. Perry Horton, Richard Schenkman (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeff Fahey, Sara Malakul Lane, John Rhys Davies, Marc Ewins, Ivan Kamaras, Luke Healy

 

Plot: When a chain of volcanic eruptions rips through Europe, the enormous ash cloud blocks out the sun, plunging the continent into a new ice age. An American couple must find their kids and get them out of Paris before it freezes over.


Tagline – Cold as hell!

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict:

 

Story: 100 Degrees Below Zero starts when a chain of volcanic eruptions in Europe cause planes to be grounded, Steve Foster (Fahey) is flying his new wife Lacey (Fekete) to meet his kids Taryn (Lane) and Ryan (Ewins) who are living in Paris for school, needing to land in London, Steve must find his own way to Paris. Dr Goldschein (Kamaras) and Colonel Ralph Dillard (Rhys-Davies) must prepare for the chain of events which will see Europe covered snow for a potential two-year long event.

Steve being a former military man turns to Colonel Dillard who offers to help if he can arrive at a certain location within the time limit before the ice age hits.

 

Thoughts on 100 Degrees Below Zero

 

Characters – Steve Foster is an ex-military pilot, retired he is trying to get to his children in Paris, with his journey taking him from London, he has a new wife who will be meeting his kids for the first time. He will use his connections to get across the water however difficult the journey will be. Taryn and Ryan as the children of Steve’s they will be meeting their new step-mum for the first time and after the disaster starts, they must stick together to figure out how to survive, with Ryan seemingly falling over more than any normal person. Colonel Ralph Dillard is dealing with the events from a military side, preparing for the worse and helping his old friend.

PerformancesJeff Fahey is good though he doesn’t have much too do other than drive and talk a lot. Sara Malakul and Marc Ewins will get you laughing at the characters decisions and at times their over reactions to the earthquakes hitting Paris. John Rhys-Davies gets to do talking too, never really being challenged as an actor.

StoryThe story puts our characters in different countries as a major disaster strikes Europe and the race to survive takes place. so, this is a disaster movie with a story that is wildly over the top and for the most part it works for anyone that enjoys a slightly trashy disaster movie, the story is basic enough to follow and while moments will make you laugh, we do get to enjoy what we are seeing. You will have to watch this with a loss sense of realism because this is one that never takes things as seriously as they should be and you never feel the true scale of the event happening, we also are just accepting what happens, with one story arc just seems to be forgotten half way through the film.

Action/Sci-FiThe action comes from the disaster sequences which are destructive for any film like this, the sci-fi ideas comes from just where the disasters can go for the wildly over the top.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a couple of main locations with the Paris location showing most of the destruction and the journey being anywhere that is snow covered. The location show the distance the characters must travel, which is understandable if you know how far apart they are.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are low budget, certain ones are bad, but this is a low budget movie that was made for next to nothing, we don’t need the best effects to be entertained.


Scene of the Movie –
The giant snowballs made me laugh the most.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Taryn and Ryan are easily the stupidest people you will ever meet.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that you will enjoy if you like the disaster movies, you don’t take them too seriously and can just switch off and enjoy the ride.

 

Overall: Switch off and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – M – Man of Tai Chi (2013)

manDirector: Keanu Reeves

Writer: Michael G Cooney (Screenplay)

Starring: Tiger Hu Chen, Keanu Reeves, Karen Mok, Jai Yu, Qing Ye, Simon Yam

 

Plot: A young martial artist’s unparalleled Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Martial Arts Film

 

Story: Man of Tai Chi starts as Inspector Suen Jing Si (Mok) looks to have finally tracked down underground street fighter boss Donaka mark (Reeves) only for him to kill his latest fighter after learning of his connection with the Inspector. Donaka must search for a new fighter with Inspector Si needing to drop the case.

We move on to meet young fighter Tiger Chen Lin Hu (Chen) who is giving all his effort into learning of Master Yang (Yu) who is about to enter the national combat championships using his art tai chi. His performances grabs Donaka attention and now he can look to recruit his latest fighter.

Accepting the job for Donaka, Tiger enters the world of underground fighter against his Master’s wishes but it isn’t long before Tiger finds himself face tougher and tougher opposition which leads to him having to Donaka other business outside of underground fighting, this will be where he meets him limits.

 

Thoughts on Man of Tai Chi

 

Characters/PerformanceTiger is a naïve young fighter who has spent his life looking after the people he loves and wanting to show his skills in his form of tai chi. He is led a stray by Donaka going against his beliefs, style and tradition. Donaka is the ruthless owner of the underground fighting scene, he pays for what he wants, flaunts that he can get away from it all to the Inspector chasing him and most importantly we don’t see him in combat so we are unsure of his fighting skills. Inspector Si is a strong officer that wants to do anything to take down Donaka because she knows his threat.

Tiger Hu Chen dos well to show off his skills in tai chi in this leading role but this is more about his fighting ability over his acting ability. Keanu steps behind the camera for double duty here and does look like he enjoys the villainous role but does have a couple of strange moments through the film. Karen Mok is good in the supporting role in all her what feel like limited scenes.stars

StoryThe story is naïve fighter gets drawn into an underworld of the sport he loves to make enough money to save the people he loves from losing everything they have earnt. Yes, this has been done before and has been done better and worse but this is still a good watch and easy to enjoy.

ActionWe have plenty of fight sequences going on through the film that all hugely entertaining but you don’t ever feel like Tiger will lose.

SettingsThe fights all take place in new arenas the deeper Tiger finds himself getting drawn into. Otherwise everything is what you would expect to see in any martial arts films.genre

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy martial arts film to watch, you don’t ever see Tiger losing, but I did really like the fact we never see Donaka fight until the final fight.

 

Overall: Easy to watch, nice relaxing average martial arts film.

Ratingrating

 

 

Logan Lerman Weekend – Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

Director: Thor Freudenthal

Writer: Marc Guggenheim (Screenplay) Rick Riordan (Novel)

Starring: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Douglas Smith, Brandon T Jackson, Stanley Tucci, Nathan Fillion

 

Plot: In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters, to find the mythical Golden Fleece, all the while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.


Tagline – Where there are gods there are monsters.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple & Enjoyable

 

Story: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters starts as we head back to camp half blood, we learn more about the barrier that protects Percy (Lerman), Annabeth (Daddario) and Grover (Jackson) from the evils of the world. When a stranger Tyson (Smith) a cyclops arrives in the camp the barrier becomes weakened the best warrior Clarisse (Rambin) is selected to search for the Golden Fleece.

Percy learning of a prophecy that shows he could once again save Olympus, he is joined by Annabeth, Grover and Tyson to stop an old enemy that is targeting the same golden fleece which could save the demi-gods.

 

Thoughts on Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

 

Characters – Percy Jackson has now become the star pupil in the camp, only he hasn’t been on any more quest, lost looking for his place in the world, he learns of a prophecy which gives him a purpose in the world as he looks to save the day again with his friends. Annabeth isn’t the warrior we once new from the last film, we do learn more about her past, though she just seems to be standing around letting Clarisse be the warrior figure. Clarisse is the rival in the camp, she is ultra-competitive when it comes to being the best, which sees her selected for the quest. She is very confident that she is can succeed on any quest too. Tyson is the cyclops who arrives in the camp, claiming to also be related to Poseidon, he has been in hiding, considered an outcast for the most part, he does join Percy on his adventure as the two half brothers must learn to bond. Grover does take a back seat more in this film too as he ends up being taken early on during the adventure. Luke is back once again trying to figure out how to destroy the Gods above, showing that he wants to bring Percy onto his side of the battle.

PerformancesLogan Lerman does continue to be strong in the leading role of this film, it is when we look at the supporting roles things start to go downhill, first they waste Daddario and Jackson’s chemistry from the first film, by bringing us two new actors to work with. Douglas Smith doesn’t hit the comedy which is meant to be shown from his character and Jake Abel returning as the villain gets to have fun with the role.

StoryThe story here brings us the next chapter in the Percy Jackson adventures, this time the stakes seem to be higher with the potential return of a deadly enemy, even if we focus more on team work which is important for the characters in the camp environment. This does give us a similar style of adventure and brings more mythology from the Greek history which is always good to see. The biggest weakness of this story comes from the world building we never got to see the next chapter for. The story feels like it could become a wonderful television show which could teach elements of Greek mythology with a modern style which has been the main part of these films.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure side of this film takes us to new locations which at meant to be American versions of the Greek historic location, which is fun to see, with Tyson seeing them for the first time. The idea of Greek Gods and monsters in the real world is always going to fascinate which it what makes this film stand out that little bit more.

SettingsThe film does take us to new locations which could easily be modern versions of the Greek Gods location, be it the abandon theme park with a cyclops in or the oceans giant monster literally eating everything in its path.

Special EffectsThe effects do take a step back, mostly because of the extra amounts needed in this film, we have Tyson which cyclops eye never looks right and the battles never hit home enough.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact we never get the next chapter.

Final ThoughtsThis is still a fun adventure film that does deliver on what it is trying to give us, it doesn’t hit as well as the first film, but can still be enjoyed along the way.

 

Overall: Fun adventure exploring the Gods.

Rating