Casey Affleck Weekend – Out of the Furnace (2013)

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Brad Ingelsby, Scott Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard

 

Plot: When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Crime Thriller

 

Story: Out of the Furnace starts as we meet the key character in this depressive downbeat town, we have aggressive new criminal Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), the current crime boss John Petty (Dafoe), hardworking Russell (Bale) and his brother soldier Rodney (Affleck), Russell girlfriend Lena (Saldana) and Chief Wesley (Whitaker).

Russell looks out for Rodney but when he is involved in a manslaughter case he finds himself in prison, while away Rodney finds himself working for Petty owing him money. Rodney desperate to make the money quick forces John into booking a fight in Harlan territory, to make a large pay day.

When Rodney finds himself in more trouble, he vanishes after the fight for Harlan, leaving a note to Russell about the change he is going to make with his life. When Russell isn’t happy with the speed, the police are taking finding his brother and Harlan he takes matters into his own hands risking his own newly acquired freedom.

 

Thoughts on Out of the Furnace

 

Characters/PerformanceRussell is the everyday man who always looks out for his brother, works hard to make a living and start a family but his life is turned upside when he is involved in an accident landing him in jail. He shows that he will do anything to protect his own family. Harlan is you typical crime boss who believes he is toughest around, deadly when needed to be. Rodney is the easily led astray young man who feels like he doesn’t get what he deserves after his time in Iraq turning to underground fighting. Wesley is the basic cop we don’t see enough from, Lena is the girlfriend that only shows what could have been with John being a nice criminal if that makes sense.

Performance wise Bale shines in the leading role with Affleck showing all of his acting skills in the supporting role. Harrelson is good and creepy but also seems to enjoy this role slightly too much. Looking deeper into the cast Whitaker, Saldana and Dafoe are all good but could be replaced by another actor.

StoryThe story shows how the bleak desperate people will turn to illegal actions to make money. We have elements of the criminal underworld which all comes through as we see how the fighting takes place and we see how one brother seeks answers on a one man mission. I liked how this was just a body building count for Russell, he goes straight to the source of the problems. This also does feel like many films we have seen before with the huge issue I had was not knowing how long he was in prison for.

Crime/ThrillerThe criminal underworld fight scenes are great with the whole idea that the criminals control the town, we are kept on edge as we wonder just how far Russell will go.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how much of a struggle most days are for these people, giving the criminal life the only escape they can get.

Special EffectsWe don’t have many here, most are just well drawn out fight sequences and well placed gun shots.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark gritty crime thriller that is a good watch, it does have a couple of plot holes but otherwise good addition to the genre.

 

Overall: Crime thriller fans enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Casey Affleck Weekend – Manchester by the Sea (2016)

manchesterDirector: Kenneth Lonergan

Writer: Kenneth Lonergan (Screenplay)

Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, CJ Wilson, Tata Donovan, Matthew Broderick, Gretchen Mol, Heather Burns, Stephen Henderson

 

Plot: An uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Casey Affleck’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: Manchester by the Sea starts as we meet Lee Chandler (Affleck) handyman for apartment complexes. He lives a very isolated life that he is happy with but when he gets a phone call he needs to leave town after his brother Joe (Chandler) suffers a heart attack.

Lee needs to return to Manchester to tell Patrick (Hedges) what has happened to his father but returning to Manchester means memories of his ex-wife Randi (Williams) and daughters Suzy (Dixon) and Karen.

Lee’s life is turned upside when he learns Joe’s will leaves him as the guardian to Patrick with enough money to re-locate in Manchester the town he had left all those years ago, Lee must figure out what to do and what is best for Patrick.

 

Thoughts on Manchester by the Sea

 

StoryThe story is a simple follow showing how one man must face his past to help his family, a past he never wanted to go back to. This comes off like an everyday family having to deal with what happened which is great to see because we support them through their struggles. This is a story you will need to be in the right frame of mind to see but if you do you will be rewarded.

Characters/PerformanceLee is such a brilliant character who has his own demons while having to face a new life with his nephew, he keeps to himself to himself but facing these demons on poses a challenge in his life. Patrick is a teenager who does think he is better than the other students and hates his Uncle but is mostly reacting to what has happened with his father. The rest of the characters are all part of the past and present of these two. Casey Affleck does give a career best performance that is so withdrawn from the world the other characters are living, while Lucas Hedges shines next to Affleck with ease. All the other performances are great throughout.

SettingsThe settings in this film make you fully believe that this is just a normal family that has been struggling with problems in everyday life which is very important through this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the hardest watches of the year, the story is not going to be for everyone. I will be saying you should be watching if you are a film lover.

 

Overall: Outstanding drama that keeps everything very simple for the characters involved with a powerhouse performance.

Rating90

 

 

George Clooney Franchise Weekend – Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

oceanDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Brian Koppelman, David Levien (Screenplay) George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell (Characters)

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Elliott Gould, Eddie Jemison, Don Cheadle, Shaobo Qin, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Ellen Barkin, Andy Garcia

 

Plot: Danny Ocean rounds up the boys for a third heist, after casino owner Willy Bank double-crosses one of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: My Favourite of the Series

 

Story: Ocean’s Thirteen starts as Danny (Clooney), Rusty (Pitt) and Linus (Damon) returning to Vegas after Reuben (Gould) gets screwed out of everything he had by ruthless casino owner Willy Bank (Pacino). Bringing the team Livingston (Jemison), Basher (Cheadle), Yen (Qin), Virgil (Affleck), Turk (Caan), Frank (Mac) and Saul (Reiner) back to Vegas to give Bank a chance to return the money to Reuben which he refuses.

6 Months later the team are back together looking to pull off a revenge job on the Grand Opening of the casino. With the team in place we get to see how this latest heist unfolds right back where it started, but just how do they pull it off?

 team

Thoughts on Ocean’s Thirteen

 

StoryWhen you see how where the characters have been and how they all came together in the first two films this story feels like the final completion on their jobs. With this story, we have the most personal revenge job as one of their own has been struck by the villainous casino owner, unlike Benedict who has been fair with his ruthlessness Bank takes things past the bounds of fairness. We do get to see role reversal with our characters which adds to the twits along the way. I personally find this the most enjoyable watch of all three of the films.

Crime/ThrillerThe heist side of this film is just as slick as the first film which is just what you want from this film. you are kept guessing to where the heist will go too.

Characters/PerformanceWe know the characters by know and they are all great once again, the inclusion of Willy Bank is good because he is ruthless compared to Benedict but in the negative the loss of Tess is questionable. The performances are all great as each star knows how to make the most of every single scene they are in.

SettingsI am delighted they moved this film back to Vegas because when these characters are looking to rob a casino you love seeing how everything unfolds.

Recommending ScaleI would be giving this the seal of approval and you can Bank on that.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far the most fun the series has and you can find yourself gripped to every scene enjoying the heist unfolding.

 

Overall: This is easily the most enjoyable of the series.

Rating

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George Clooney Franchise Weekend – Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

ocaenDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: George Nolfi (Screenplay) George Clayton Johnson, Jack Glden Russell (Characters)

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Plot: Daniel Ocean recruits one more team member so he can pull off three major European heists in this sequel to Ocean’s 11.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks the Style

 

Story: Ocean’s Twelve starts 3 years after the final scene of Ocean’ Eleven and Terry Benedict (Garcia) has tracked down the whole team Danny (Clooney), Tess (Roberts), Virgil (Affleck), Turk (Caan), Yen (Qin), Frank (Mac), Basher (Cheadle), Linus (Damon) Saul (Reiner), Livingston (Jemison) Reuben (Gould) and Rusty (Pitt). Benedict wants his money back with interest.

The team heads to Europe for their latest in a string of heists to repay Benedict and get their lives back but things get complicated when Rusty’s ex-girlfriend Isabel Lahiri (Zeta-Jones) leading the hunt for thieves and now she is targeting Rusty and the rest of Danny’s team, but they find themselves one step behind an infamous thieve the Night Fox.

 

Thoughts on Ocean’s Twelve

 

StoryThe reason why the first Ocean’s film worked was just how small the idea was, one heist one town one vault. This story becomes a competition which isn’t how these characters would act even if they are being chased down by a vengeful Benedict. I did like the idea that Benedict wanted his money back but otherwise I found this story overcomplicated for no reason and just not a slick as the first.

Crime/ThrillerThe heists are what make the crime side of the story but this time we just don’t get sucked into the crime elements of the story.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all like the first time with just Rusty being a lot more like Danny with his old flame being the problem in the heist. The addition of Isabel does add another dimension but really isn’t the most interesting character within the film. the performances are all solid but not to the levels we are used to from the cast.

SettingsWe have far too many settings going on through the film to make us focus on the main story which was one of the highlights of the original film.

Final ThoughtsThis really is a sub-par sequel to an enjoyable first trip with these characters.

 

Overall: Disappointingly sloppy sequel.

Ratingcard

 

 

George Clooney Franchise Weekend – Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

oceanDirector: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Ted Griffin (Screenplay) Harry Brown, Charles Lederer (Original Screenplay)

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin

 

Plot: Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick, Stylish Heist Film

 

Story: Ocean’s Eleven starts with Danny Ocean (Clooney) getting released from prison after his life has fallen apart with his wife leaving him. Danny heading straight to Las Vegas looking for a team to rob three casinos owned by Terry Benedict (Garcia). The team Danny puts together is his right-hand man Rusty (Pitt) blacklisted dealer Frank (Mac) finaceer Reuben (Gould), gadget men Virgil (Affleck) and Turk (Caan), tech guy Livingston (Jemison) acrobat Yen (Qin), senior player Saul (Reiner) explosives expert Basher (Cheadle) and pickpocket Linus (Damon).

With the location set the team set out to prepare for the heist but things take a turn when Rusty learns of Tess (Roberts) involvement with Benedict as this has turned into a revenge mission against his ex-wife.

 

Thoughts on Ocean’s Eleven

 

StoryThe story is about the heist going on with the careful planning that goes into everything. we do get the slip ups along the way which makes it all fun to watch and with the pacing being almost perfect you barely notice the time fly by. We have a film that builds the character to make everyone important to the heist.

Crime/ThrillerWhen you go into heist films you always have an expectation level and this one nails it on every single level as we are all kept guessing to what the next trick up the guys sleeves will be.

Characters/PerformanceDanny is a great leading character that is filled with charisma and with the tea he puts together you care and are interested in all their stories. Terry Benedict makes for a great villain who people are all looking to get one over. It is the Tess character I have most issues with in this film because she is made out to be mostly a money grabber. The performances are all fantastic because we get Clooney leading the film with ease but each of the supporting characters know exactly just how much screen time they are getting and how to make the most of each and every scene they are in.

SettingsThe film is set inside Vegas with most of the set inside the casino as we see the planning and execution of the plan in its full.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far one of the finest heist movies you will be lucky enough to ever see.

 

Overall: Enjoy the heist unfold.

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