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

 

 

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Jude Law Weekend – Side Effects (2013)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Scott Z Burns (Screenplay)

Starring: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta Jones, Channing Tatum

 

Plot: A young woman’s world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Crime Thriller

 

Story: Side Effects starts with a bloody apartment before we flash back to 3 months earlier, we meet Emily Taylor (Mara) whose husband Martin (Tatum) is about to be released from a 4-year stint in prison for insider trading. Once released Emily’s depression comes back hard and she even tries to kill herself.

Dr Jonathan Banks (Law) takes Emily on as a patient looking to help cure these thoughts and after consulting with a former doctor, Victoria Siebert (Zeta-Jones), Banks agrees to try Emily on a new drug which does give her unusual side effects, one of which was murder, now Banks must prove whether this was just a side effect or his own mistake.

 

Thoughts on Side Effects

 

Characters/PerformanceEmily Taylor is a troubled young lady dealing with to depression, she gets treatment and things start to getting better only for the side effects of the new drug taking over, one leading to murder. Dr Banks is the man treating Emily and willing to try a new drug for her treatment but after she murders her husband, his life starts to come crumbling down around him, his practise dries up, his personal life becomes difficult and now he must rebuild it all. Martin is the husband who has been released from prison trying to get his life back on track with his wife. Dr Victoria Siebert is the former doctor of Emily that suggest the drug.

Performance wise, Jude Law is good through this film and is convincing as a man whose life is falling apart. Rooney Mara is also good as the unstable woman. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum both give good supporting performances too.

StoryThe story does start off being about a young woman that needs treatment for her depression but soon turns into a mystery that is filled with twist and turns that will only keep you guessing. I wasn’t sure going into this movie because dealing with the depression can be difficult subject matter but the twist makes things reach a new level of interest that only keeps us guessing which is always good.

Crime/MysteryThe crime and mystery side of the film only come out in the second half because the twist brings this drama to life.

SettingsEach setting shows us where the characters come from to show us just how desperate the characters are during twists in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis film does start slow but the twist in the half way mark is one of the most interesting twists to a film which does keep us guessing.

 

Overall: Interesting thriller that saves the slow start.

Rating

 

 

Jude Law Weekend – Dom Hemingway (2013)

Director: Richard Shepard

Writer: Richard Shepard (Screenplay)

Starring: Jude Law, Richard E Grant, Demian Bichir, Emilia Clarke

 

Plot: After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical British Crime Comedy

 

Story: Dom Hemingway starts as Dom (Law) is released from jail after serving 12-years, he heads straight back to his criminal friends in Dickie Black (Grant) who is planning to take him to the boss he kept quiet for Mr Fontaine (Bichir). Getting his reward for keeping quiet a crazy night partying changes everything as Dom has his money stolen and people end up dead.

Returning home Dom tries to reconnect with his daughter Evelyn (Clarke) who has her family now as Dom wants to make up for lost time. This will be the hardest challenge of Dom’s life if he accepts it or will he dive back into the criminal life.

 

Thoughts on Dom Hemingway

 

Characters/PerformanceDom Hemmingway is a loud foul-mouthed criminal fresh out of prison, he is violent and doesn’t hold out on what he thinks, no matter who he offends. You want to support him but he easy to hate with his nature. Dickie is the loyal friend that tries to keep Dom on the right path even though he has been working on the criminal line, but he does stick by Dom. Evelyn is the daughter of Dom who wants nothing to do with him. She has made her own life without him and is happy.

Performance wise, Jude Law is fantastic in this leading role, even if I didn’t enjoy the character, he does fully commit to the role. Richard E Grant gets his good moments through the film and Emilia Clarke is only a smaller part but you would feel like she would have a bigger role now.

StoryThe story follows one man needing to make up for his biggest mistake of his life, all because he believed he would get what he deserved once he was released from prison. The story is by the book and can be difficult to watch in places because of the constant swearing and you would have liked more focus on the daddy daughter relationship over the wild partying.

Comedy/CrimeThe crime world we find ourselves in is well designed because we are given an aging criminal, the comedy comes from the completely over the top character of Dom Hemmingway.

SettingsThe settings show us the two worlds Dom cold be part of and how he can’t make up for what he did in order to be the man he wants now.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good story of redemption for a criminal who lost years of his life with his actions, there is a lot of swearing which seems like it is there just for the sake of it which could turn people away from the film, but Jude Law is fantastic in this role.

 

Overall: Jude Law shines in this one.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – N – The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013)

Director: Fredrik Bond

Writer: Matt Drake (Screenplay)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley

 

Plot: While traveling abroad, a guy falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in her violent, charismatic ex.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Story

 

Story: The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman starts as Charlie (LaBeouf) deals with his mother’s death which pushes him to take a trip to Romania, an idea that the ghost of his mother suggests. On route the Romanian passenger Victor (Caramitru) dies giving Charlie a reason to find his daughter Gabi (Wood).

Charlie meets to Brits Karl (Grint) and Luc (Buckley) who show him how to party in the hostel but the danger comes from Gabi’s estranged husband Nigel (Mikkelsen) a dangerous man in the city. Charlie finds himself in the middle of the cover up that puts his own life in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

 

Characters/PerformanceCharlie is a young man who travels to escape the grieving of his mother’s death, he wants to do the right thing but enjoys partying to, it would be fair to say his true motivations and character are never fully shown though. Gabi is the local Romanian girl that catches Charlie’s eye, she is also grieving the death of a parent but her life is a lot more complicated than he can imagine. Nigel is the ex-husband of Gabi that isn’t going to let her go without a fight which brings us to see how dangerous this man could be.

Performance wise, Shia is good in this role, I know people can slam the guy but this works for him. Evan Rachel Wood is also good throughout the film without trying to steal the movie while Mads Mikkelsen is always great in this type of role.

StoryThis story focuses on the one man looking for a moment to get away from his life to grieve, this is all good we have seen this before because it shows how this solo character finds themselves getting into trouble. The idea is basically ABC and it is simple enough to follow.

Comedy/RomanceThe film doesn’t feel too much like of a comedy and the romance side is basically just guy meets girl in new city but girl has background that makes things difficult for them to be together.

SettingsThe setting is good because not many film are set in Romania.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most average films you will see, there are better and worse that cover the same genre.

 

Overall: Not that impressive.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – G – Grudge Match (2013)

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Tim Kelleher, Rodney Rothman (Screenplay) Tim Kelleher (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, LL Cool J, Jon Bernthal

 

Plot: A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout, thirty years after their last match.


Tagline – Never give up the fight.

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: More Heartfelt Than You Would Think

 

Story: Grudge Match starts as we see the history of two boxing legends Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Stallone) & Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (De Niro) who has two fights and before The Kid got his rematch, Razor walked away from the sport. 30-years-later after an altercation between the two goes viral, Dante Slate Jr (Hart) arranges one more match between the two.

The two get back into training, Razor uses his old coach Lightning (Arkin) while The Kid turns to a new gym he helped fund run by Frankie Brite (Cool J) but it is his unknown son BJ (Bernthal) that knows how to train, the two go through the press campaign giving everyone buzz about the fight between two fighters past their prime and out of shape.

 

Thoughts on Grudge Match

 

Characters – Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp won the last fight between the two, he then walked away from the sport losing his fortune along the way becoming a factory worker. When the chance to make money by returning for one fight however reluctant he is, he must confront the problems which left him walking away from the ring to be ready for his in-ring return. Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen lost the last fight between the two, he wants rematch, but his reasoning behind him losing is the same as Razor leaving the ring. He has his own bar and jumps at the chance of a rematch. Dante Slate Jr is the fast taking promoter that has followed in his father’s footsteps. Lightning is the trainer for Razor he always has been, the old man cliché is all about him in this film. we have Sally who is the woman that got between the two men trying to rebuild her relationship with Razor.

PerformancesStallone and De Niro both have legendary careers where they both appeared in boxing movies, Rocky and Raging Bull respectable, this performance from the both doesn’t mock what they achieved, but does let them have fun at knowing they are older than when those films were part of their highlights. The supporting cast all get to play into their strengths, Hart with his quick talking, Arkin with his grumpy old man persona and Basinger doing the old flame figure.

StoryThe story follows to old rivals in the Boxing ring that get bought back together for the grudge match with the two having one a single match win each. The story shows how rivalries can last for decades and how they both have survived after leaving the world of boxing. We get to see the ‘old man’ in tech heavy world moments as this fight goes viral which works in places but not others. We see how the personal lives of everyone involved has been affected by the rivalry too.

Comedy/SportsThe comedy is solid in most places we get Hart doing his thing most and Arkin do the grumpy old man routine which gets the most laughs. The sports brings us in the boxing world with former rivals.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings in the two boxers home city of Pittsburgh which shows the sport will bring the city together.


Scene of the Movie –
The match itself.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain jokes miss.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that was a lot better than I would expect, the jokes can hit and by the end you will enjoy this movie with two boxing legends finally ending their tie.

 

Overall: Fun sports comedy.

Rating