The Social Network (2010)

socialDirector: David Fincher

Writer: Aaron Sorkin (Screenplay) Ben Mezrich (Book)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Josh Pence, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara

 

Plot: Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overrated and Hard Work

 

Story: The Social Network starts as we meet Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) on a date with Erica Albright (Mara) showing how socially awkward he can be during his time Harvard. Upset about the break up Mark with his friend Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) Dustin Moskovitz (Mazzello) and Chris Hughes (Mapel) create a comparing girls photos on a website that spread through Harvard instantly bringing down the servers.

This night’s events cause Zuckerberg on front of a disciplinary panel as well as showing us the ongoing court case going on against Zuckerberg. His stunt has grab the attention of the Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler (Hammer playing both) who want Zuckerberg to help them with their big idea.

The story continues to show Mark works with Winklevoss twins only to use their idea to build his own site The Facebook. When the site takes off it grabs the attention of founder of Napster Sean Parker (Timberlake) who wants to take the site from Millions to Trillions. This is the story of how Facebook ends up becoming one of the biggest things the world has ever seen.

 

Thoughts on The Social Network

 

StoryThe story shows us how Facebook was built by making enemies with the people who helped start it going by borrowing ideas to make it the biggest sites in the world. We get plenty of business talk, tech talk and lawyer scenes which mix up the story for us making it difficult to understand everything that goes on because most of the story is very American, so if you don’t understand the terms you will find yourself lost in the mix. I feel this will always be a complex story that will be remember but is told very slow and confusingly.

Biography/DramaShowing the actions of the real-life people involved Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, the Winklevoss twins and Sean Porter show how they were all effected by what happened with the creation of Facebook which is all good as we see how these people were meant to be acting towards making this happen. There is nothing bad to say about this side of the story watching the genre.

Characters/PerformanceThe performances are nearly all flawless as we see just how these people are portrayed, we see how Zuckerberg comes off very brash arrogant and rude towards the people who help him. When you see the cast being involved you can see how the stars have started and come onto the next big things.

SettingsEach setting makes us see just how much a party incident this started as which would be where the idea started but the most important side of this is showing how it started with dorm room before turning into the business venture in a tower.

Final Thoughts Overall this is a very interesting look at how Facebook started even if the story can be hard to follow. We get heavyweight performances from all but the early stages of the film come off slow but the final acts of the film are the real highlights of the film.

 

Overall: Great performance, important story but at times tells a story we don’t need to know.

Ratingcard

 

 

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Mine (2016)

Director: Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro

Writer: Fabio Guaglione, Fabio Resinaro (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Annabelle Wallis, Tom Cullen, Clint Dyer, Geoff Bell, Juliet Aubrey

 

Plot: After a failed assassination attempt, a soldier finds himself stranded in the desert. Exposed to the elements, he must survive the dangers of the desert and battle the psychological and physical tolls of the treacherous conditions.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Intense Thriller

 

Story: Mine starts as sniper Mike (Hammer) and his spotter Tommy (Cullen) on an assassination mission but when Mike isn’t 100% sure that is his target is the required one, this leads to the position being giving away and the two on the run through the desert looking for rescue.

When the two stumbles across a mine field warning sign floating around the desert, Mike becomes worried while Tommy believes it could have come from anywhere, continuing their mission Tommy detonates a mine while Mike finds himself stood on one not being able to move.

With no GPS available and limited resources Mike’s only hope of survival is 52 hours away, now he must look for the best way to survive with a sandstorms, enemies and exhausting being his main threat.

 

Thoughts on Mine

 

Characters – Mike is the sniper on the mission, he doesn’t complete the mission due to too many variables from the source information and along with his spotter must retreat for evocation, things don’t go as planned once he finds himself stepping on a land mine, not being able to move, we are left to see his survival skills. Tommy is the spotter for Mike, he has been at war longer and has family back home, he is killed once he steps on a mine which leads to certain questions about the character being so naïve in a war environment. Jenny is the girlfriend of Mike’s back home, she is the main motivation for Mike to keep strong through his deadly situation.

PerformanceArmie Hammer is a guy that has taken a lot of stick through the years and this year his performances have shown us just how capable he is, Mine gives us a solo performance which shows he can carry a movie, Annabelle Wallis does well with her supporting performance without needing to do anything difficult and Tom Cullen is solid in the supporting role, he doesn’t do anything wrong as a performer even if the character seems naïve.

StoryThe story follows one man trapped on a landmine in the middle of the desert, we watch how he faces his potential death as he looks back through moments of his life where he stepped into situation he regretted as well as the moments that made him who he is. This does fall into the bracket of one man trying to survive in a film which is always an intense story to watch but looking into his past regrets and memories reflect that we all step on landmines through life at times.

Thriller/WarWe are kept on the edge of our seats through the film wanting to know is Mike can survive the situation he finds himself in which does revolve around the idea of what is left because of the war in the mines rather than focusing on the conflict.

SettingsThe middle of the desert does make for the fantastic setting for this movie, Mike has nowhere to go, battling the elements and little chance of success for the most part.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, the film doesn’t turn to them often but when needed they are effective.

Scene of the Movie – The last visit of the stranger, shows us the effect of the war on the innocent people too.

That Moment that annoyed me It could easily get people turned off with the pure number random visit Mike must face because we just get left wondering how many are real or not.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good intense thriller along the line of Buried and well worth a watch throughout, it might become slightly confusing by the end but you do get rewarded by the end.

 

Overall: Good thriller well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Free Fire (2017)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley

 

Plot: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacking Substance

 

Story: Free Fire starts as we see Irish man Chris (Murphy) is joined by his men Frank (Smiley), Bernie (Cilenti) and Stevo (Riley) for a gun deal with connections Justine (Larson) and Ord (Hammer). The supplies are Vernon (Copley), Martin (Ceesay), Harry (Reynor) and Gordon (Taylor).

When tensions start to rise early on due to clash of cultures it isn’t long before all hell lets loose and everybody is trying to kill everybody else, but who can walk out alive from this arms deal gone bad.

 

Thoughts on Free Fire

 

Characters/PerformanceChris is an Irishman looking to get extra guns for the battle against the English. Justine is the connection between the two parties along with Ord who keeps everything in order. Vernon is the dealer who is slightly strange in his own way.

Performance wise, I don’t think anybody did a bad job everyone is good with the role they are in, with Copley getting most of the laughs with Sam Riley and Jack Reynor both doing well.

StoryThe story is very thin here, we have two parties coming together for a gun deal, things go wrong and the rest of the film is spent watching how each has their own individual battle to survive, get the guns or money. I did like the concept but it is a lot of just crawling around with random shooting and nothing else happening.

Action/Comedy/Crime The action is lots of just random shooting, with the comedy coming in places with certain characters coming off funny while others seem to be played straight, neither have the chemistry to work together. The crime side is the gun deal which is fine for the backdrop of this film.

SettingsThe whole film is set in and around the warehouse, this is a good thing because the film does play out in real time, this is the strongest point within this film.

Final ThoughtsI liked the idea behind this film, I just feel the film doesn’t decide if it is going to be a comedy or a serious film, it gets completely stuck between the two and not enjoyable. I can see the directors style in here which I do respect but I am not the biggest fan off.

 

Overall: Strong idea but disappointing final product with all star cast.

Rating

 

 

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocDirector: Tom Ford

Writer: Tom Ford (Screenplay) Austin Wright (Novel)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney

Plot: An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Wow

Story: Nocturnal Animals starts by following art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Adams) who has it all with her new husband Hutton (Hammer) but she isn’t enjoying the job the way she once did. Susan receives a copy of her ex-husbands novel.

We enter the novel following the Hastings family Tony (Gyllenhaal), Laura (Fisher) and India (Bamber) as they are travelling cross country clashing with Ray Marcus (Taylor-Johnson) and his crew of joyriders in the middle of the night.

With his family kidnapped and his car found abandoned Tony must work with Bobby Andes (Shannon) to find his family all while Susan is struggling with the intensity of the novel. When the story hits hard personally for Susan, she starts to see this as a message being sent by her first husband Ed Sheffield (Gyllenhaal). We are left to witnesses just how the book ends and how it could be reflected into Susan’s life.

Thoughts on Nocturnal Animals

StoryThe story is balancing three stories, the first is Susan reading the book and looking back at her relationship with Ed. The second is looking at how the relationship between Susan and Ed started and fell apart. The third is the following of the novel which is a very intense story. I think all three are balanced perfectly to show the paranoia coming Susan, the love story beginning middle and end of the early relationship. The highlight of the stories really is looking into the novel because this story while intense wouldn’t work as a solo film without seeing and feeling the reaction of Susan reading into so deeply. The stories also don’t get themselves confused which could easily happen in this story.

Drama/ThrillerThis is a thriller that will keep you on edge from start to finish when it comes to the novel being told the drama mostly comes from the outskirts following Susan’s story of wondering what the book is meant to stand for.

Characters/PerformanceLooking into the characters we have a very interesting mix, Susan is never saw what to want from her life making the mistakes which will make over people like her, I do think the stand out characters are from novel with Tony character being filled with emptiness after what happens to his family, Andes being a strong cop figure willing to go the extra mile for justice and the crazy criminal Ray Marcus that goes all out to get what he wants and gets away with anything. When we look at the performances Adams, Gyllenhaal and Shannon all give the great performances you know and expect from them, it is Aaron Taylor Johnson that makes you step back and go wow because this performance not many people could have seen coming from him.

SettingsEach setting fits the story it is being used to tell, be it the high society setting of the art gallery owner, the rough desert location for the novel and New York for the early stages of love.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most intense films of the year that will be hard for certain film fans to enjoy because of how dark it is but in the end, you will be left shocked with where this one goes.

Overall: Shockingly intense story telling going on from start to finish.

Ratingcard

Leonardo DiCaprio Weekend – J. Edgar (2011)

hooverDirector: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Dustin Lance Black (Screenplay)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney

 

Plot: J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Biopic

 

Story: J. Edgar starts as we learn that J Edgar Hoover (DiCaprio) wanting to tell his story as he goes back to 1919 when he witnesses the crime being committed against his boss Mitchell Palmer. We see how Palmer give Hoover a chance to search for the communist which are targeting high ranking members of America.

With Hoover’s first act he plans to deport any non-America who poses a threat to the country a new law was born and peace came from the rebel. Being put in charge of the Bureau of Investigation Hoover cleans out the corruption to build his own force as he wants to use new technology to help fight crime. While his professional career shines and rises his personal life where he tackles his own relationship with Clyde Tolson (Hammer) that has to remain a secret. The birth of the FBI is told through this story too.

J. Edgar shows the amazing career and life of one of the most important men in American history as we see how he came to help change how law was thought and studied. This will never be questioned but his methods on achieving this could be questioned as he does push many morale boundaries. It is the look into his personal life which also interests because for a man rising against authority to be homosexual at the time would have been looked down on so Hoover also becomes victim to the personal choice being the thing that held back his career. The problem with this film is not in the performance because DiCaprio shines in this role but the problem comes with the fact that this is slightly too long at nearly two and half hours long we could have easily have had a two-hour film because the whole film feels slow at times.

 

Overall: Slow biopic with heavyweight performances.

Rating55