Bradley Cooper Weekend – Serena (2014)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Ron Rash (Book)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris, Ana Ularu

 

Plot: In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton’s timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena.


Tagline – Some loves can never let you go.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Slow

 

Story: Serena starts as we see how George Pemberton (Cooper) and his timber empire is struggling with money, meeting Serena (Lawrence) the two are married and her past in the timber industry helps George make decisions which will increase the profit he is making.

When George’s long term friend and first to turn to Buchanan (Dencik) starts to turn away from his ideas to work with the local Sheriff McDowell (Jones) who wants to stop the timber trade and make a national park, the life of George is turned upside down with only Serena to keep his head on straight.

 

Thoughts on Serena

 

Characters – George Pemberton is a timber tycoon, he has built up his empire and the work seems to be going well, though he is in financial hardship, friends turning on him and turning to methods which could bring down his whole empire. Serena is the woman from another world, daughter of a timber tycoon herself who tragically lost her family in a fire, she knows how to get the most out of a profit and stars to help run the business with George. Galloway is a tracker that works to help locate dangers for the crew, on the side job he makes sure that George can hunt the animals he desires. Sheriff McDowell is the man against George, he wants to turn the woodland area into a park which could one day bring tourists to the area.

PerformancesBradley Cooper is known more for his work in comedy, sure he has tackled dramas before and usually done a good job, in this he struggles to make any impact on the film, though he isn’t the only one. Jennifer Lawrence is no where near her best in this film as she struggles to make the impact her character seems to need to be having on the film. Rhys Ifans is the only one that seems to be interesting to watch in this film. I would say most of these comes from the poorly written characters.

StoryThe story here follows a timber tycoon who is about to lose his fortune until he meets Serena who only makes thing even crazier for him. Well that is what I got from the story, I am not going to lie, there isn’t much going on in this film, I don’t know if this is based on a real person who just the depression-era in general or even the time scale of the movie. We do seem to have a storyline about deforestation versus a nature park which for the most part is a back burner while also having a story about love I think. This is one of the weakest stories I have ever seen, it doesn’t capture anything we need to make us enjoy what we are seeing.

RomanceThe romance side of the film is a quickie marriage and learning that love happened before the wife arrived.

SettingsThe film is set in Colorado which was a big part of the timber industry, it works for the film without giving us too much to work with visually.


Scene of the Movie –
George saving the crew member.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of it being boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that drags along way to slowly without any meaningful storyline arcs going on, we have unlikable characters and nothing that captures our attention.

 

Overall: Dull is being nice.

Rating

 

 

Siberia (2018)

Director: Matthew Ross

Writer: Scott B Smith (Screenplay) Stephen Hamal, Scott B Smith (Story)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ana Ularu, Molly Ringwald, Pasha D Lychnikoff

 

Plot: When an American diamond trader’s Russian partner goes missing, he journeys to Siberia in search of him, but instead begins a love affair.


Tagline – This was not the plan.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Thriller Waiting for a Sting

 

Story: Siberia starts when American diamond trader Lucas Hill (Reeves) loses contact with his partner Pyotr (Gulyarin) he must head to Russia to figure out just what went wrong, meeting with his client Boris Volkov (Lychnikoff) he has two days to locate the diamonds who face drastic consequences.

Lucas finds himself in a small town waiting for contact where he meets the locals including café owner Katya (Ularu) who takes a shine to him, Lucas starts to befriend the locals and Katya which makes him feel more welcome, though the job and his wife Gabby (Ringwald) keep his attention.

 

Thoughts on Siberia

 

Characters – Lucas Hill is a diamond trader based in America, his latest job goes wrong, forcing him to head to St Petersburg to figure out just what has happened, here he learns of multiply interested parties and his partner is nowhere to be seen. He gets romantically involved with a local woman putting his personal life in danger. His problems are mounting up which only leads him to make rash decisions. Katya is a café owner that gets romantically involved in an affair with Lucas, she knows he has a wife and still gets involved, helping him with his dealings. Boris Volkov is the criminal client that Lucas is trying to make happy with his diamonds, he isn’t happy that the deal isn’t going smoothly forcing Lucas to search with his threats. Gabby is Lucas’s wife back in America, she knows his business and that he will be away for long periods of time.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves does the basics well in this film, he doesn’t reach the levels he can and has been in recent years, but he does take a chance on another project which would be different. An Ulrau is solid too, she seems to have a difficult character to play with most of her scenes involving the relationship with Lucas. Pasha is fine in the generic villain role and Molly Ringwald is in this film, it is unfair to say anything bad about her, most of the question are around why we barely see her.

StoryThe story here follows a diamond trader that must travel to Russia to figure out what went wrong on the latest job only for him to get caught up in an affair with a local woman. The problems with this film comes from focusing too long on the affair and meeting the locals which takes up a large amount of the film, the dealings some late and are glossed over feeling like we have seen it all before. We even have a moment where we have the phone call with the wife and for some reason we show the wife who isn’t seen again. The story is the weakest part of the film and just gets confused with what it is trying to tell us.

Crime/RomanceThe crime world we enter shows Lucas conducting his diamond trades which never feels like it is as shady as it should be, you don’t get a full sense of how confrontational Lucas would be either. The romance angle in the film follows the basic affair one which would put our character in a position where he meets an unlikely person in his life.

SettingsThe film is set in Russia, well Siberia, look at the title of the film. none of the location stand out as anything new or original.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth about the diamonds.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Hunting scene, not needing and barbaric.

Final ThoughtsThis is a lacklustre crime romance film that gets clogged down focusing on the certain sides of the film which makes you forget the other side of the film.

 

Overall: Crime thriller that just doesn’t hit home.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Anaconda: The Trail of Blood (2009)

Director: Don E FauntLeRoy

Writer: David C Olson (Screenplay)

Starring: Crystal Allen, Linden Ashby, Danny Midwinter, Calin Stanciu, Ana Ularu, Claudiu Bleont

 

Plot: A genetically created Anaconda, cut in half, regenerates itself into two aggressive giant snakes, due to the Blood Orchid.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Well At Least They Are Over

 

Story: Anacondas: Trail of Blood starts as Murdoch (Rhys-Davies) has continued his research but when his doctor vanishes so might the cure, he hires a mercenary to kill the scientist and bring back all the research. Meanwhile Amanda (Allen) is searching the forest in search of any remaining snakes, whiles another research team led by Jackson (Ashby) is looking to collect the data.

While all chasing the same research they all find themselves at the mercy of two deadlier anacondas that are very hungry and takes no prisoners.

 

Thoughts on Anacondas: Trail of Blood

 

Characters/PerformanceAmanda is back and now she is basically Lara Croft hunting for the snakes, Jackson is part of a team searching for a missing friend and we have military guys, by reading this you will learn how none of the characters are memorable.

Performance wise is a similar situation as it is filled with average to bad performances across the board and I feel sorry for John Rhys-Davies for having to appear in two of these films now.

StoryThe story does try to continue on the idea of blood orchids create extended life but in the end is just lots gun shooting, running around the forest and snake eating, it is this bad that the military team don’t even have names.

Action/HorrorAction is people running around and shooting with toy guns, the horror is the acting.

SettingsRandom woods which are meant to be in Romania because that’s where you do research now.

Special EffectsNope.

Final ThoughtsThis is yet another bad addition to this franchise which gives us no hope on it ever continuing.

 

Overall: Please Give Up

Rating

 

 

Inferno (2016)

infernoDirector: Ron Howard

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Dan Brown (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, Ana Ularu, Ida Darvish

 

Plot: When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to the Franchise

 

Story: Inferno starts as we follow the charismatic preacher Bertrand Zobrist (Foster) who has been preaching about how the human race has been over populating the world and that ‘Inferno’ is the cure but his beliefs have got him in trouble leading him to have only one way out suicide.

We move to meet Robert Langdon (Hanks) who has been through a traumatic experience which has left him with amnesia waking up in hospital. Suffering nightmare visions Robert discovers he was being in hospital because of a gunshot and people are still trying to kill him, teaming up with his doctor Sienna Brooks (Jones) the two must unlock his mind.

On the run from the police, World Health Organisation and an organisation run by Harry Sims (Khan) with both Christoph Bouchard (Sy) and Vayentha (Uaru) both looking to cover up what looks like a potential viral outbreak. Can Langdon remember why he is in Florence before it is too late and save the world from the Inferno that could kill half the world’s population.

Inferno is the latest chapter of the Robert Langdon adventure in which he must use ancient clues to solve a mystery that could cull half the world’s population. This is a brilliant choice for a villain’s motivation because the world is suffering from an overpopulation problem and using this gives us the situation which would have people to support his motivation. The story keeps us guessing as to which side of the choice everyone who is hunting Langdon is on and this moves between characters a lot through the film.

Tom Hanks is as always is a good lead without truly excelling like other films this year as he is a good narrator style character which Langdon comes off as. Felicity Jones gets to have the trademark fun sidekick whose characters gets to live her dream of working with Langdon on a puzzle solving mission even with an extra dimension to her decisions. The rest of the characters hunting Langdon come off average with the film jumping between who is good or bad too often. Ben Foster is the shining light of this film even with most of his scenes being flashbacks or video recordings but his character is one of the most interesting villains in years.

This is the first of the instalment that I haven’t read first and while it does keep changing who we are meant look at as the good characters it is the step towards a much bigger threat which makes this film all the more interesting.

 

Overall: Twist filled addition to the complex historical charged mystery thriller

Ratingcard