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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Franchise Weekend – How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Director: Dean DeBlois

Writer: Dean DeBlois (Screenplay) Cressida Cowell (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerald Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill

 

Plot: When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Impressive Sequel

 

Story: How to Train Your Dragon 2 starts a couple of years after the events of the last film, the Vikings and dragons now live side by side, with Hiccup and Toothless exploring the open water searching for new land and opportunity. With Stoick is wanting Hiccup to take over a chief, Hiccup isn’t ready for this responsibility.

When Hiccup goes exploring he learns of a new threat, Drago a man that has a dragon army, wanting to create peace, Hiccup meets another dragon rider, his long-lost mother Valka.

 

Thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

Characters – Hiccup is now exploring the surrounding world with Toothless, he goes far and wide, his discovery this time around will bring a new threat to his homeland and the dragons, while giving him a shocking discovery about his past. Hiccup is on the verge of become chief a responsibility he isn’t ready for too. Stoick is still the chief, he keeps the community together, though he is reaching the age of retirement, trying to prepare Hiccup to take over, he will be just as shocked as Hiccup when it comes to dealing with an old face returning to his life. Valka is the mysterious dragon rider, she has a vast friendly army that is only out to protect the dragon community, she is Hiccup’s mother who was long thought to be dead, she had always thought the same as Hiccup. Drago is the evil tyrant who has a dragon army, he wants complete control of the dragons killing anyone who doesn’t follow him.

StoryThe story here puts our character Hiccup in a new dilemma, one where he must face a future responsibility while trying to learn more about the world, using the dragons to see the world. as this is a sequel we get a surprise appearance from a character we thought was dead, the battles will become bigger much like how the world is becoming bigger for the Vikings. We get to see even more wonderful dragon designs. The more dragons we discover, the bigger the threat can become to the people of the world, it shows how people will need to fight for their people in an attempt to save their people.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe action in this film is bigger than last time, the large scale dragon battle is breath taking to watch. The adventure in the film takes Hiccup to bigger and further locations than the original showing us how Hiccup is learning about the world. the comedy does take a step back this time, which is fine because we don’t need it with a more serious storyline.

SettingsThe film creates more beautiful locations that could only come from the world filled with dragons, each location has a unique look too.

AnimationThe animation as always is wonderful to see and will be remembered by the end of the film, the scale of the battles is special to see.


Scene of the Movie –
Alpha versus Alpha battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ruffnet’s obsession with Eret.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant sequel that is better than the original, it keeps us full engrossed in the next adventure of Hiccup.

 

Overall: Must watch sequel.

Rating

 

 

Cinderella (2015)

cinderellaDirector: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Chris Weitz (Screenplay)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgard, Sophie McShera

 

Plot: When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her scheming step-sisters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Telling of Classic

 

Story: Cinderella starts as we see Ella getting raised by her parents Mother (Atwell) and Father (Chaplin) who teach her to be honest and good before we see the tragic death of her mother. Years pass on and her father decides to real marry to her new Stepmother (Blanchett) but the now grown up Cinderella (James) has to get used to a new step sisters Drisella (McShera)) and Anastasia (Grainger). When Cinderella’s father dies on a trip she ends up getting placed in the role of housekeeper and all around slave for the family.

When Cinderella meets the handsome Prince (Madden) the two find themselves hiding their true identities as sparks fly between the two. The Prince is about the host a ball where he must pick a bride and he opens the doors to every woman in his kingdom.

Cinderella wants to attend the ball to meet the charming man she met in the woods but her dreams are dashed by her evil stepmother but her Fairy Godmother (Carter) is always looking over her to make the dream happen.

Cinderella is one of the most classic tales there is to tell and this outing keeps the fairy tale in the wonderful world we expect to see. We all know where the story is going and this does give us a couple of extra twits to the story with the Stepmother being more involved with where the story goes. If you just want to see a fantasy romance unfold this is all you need to see from the story.

 

Actor Review

 

Cate Blanchett: Stepmother is the lady Ella’s father marries, she has two daughters that are used to the high lifestyle. When her new husband dies she turns Cinderella into the slave of the house while the three continue to try and live their lives of luxury. Cate is good in this role where she looks like she enjoys the role.stepmother

Lily James: Cinderella grew up as Ella with her caring loving parents but when she is left with her new stepmother she ends up becoming the slave of the household. She only ever wants to see good, be good and be treated fairly, she never wants to look down on any a true pure sole. When she gets to go to the ball she could escape her life locked away by her stepmother. Lily is good in this role really looking the part.ella

Richard Madden: Prince is the charming stranger that Ella meets in the woods one day, they have instant attraction but keep their names a secret. When it becomes time for him to select a wife he opens the doors to any woman hoping to find her once more. Richard fits the character very well giving us a good performance.prince

Helena Bonham Carter: Fairy Godmother has been watching over Cinderella all her life but shows herself to make her dream of going to the ball a reality. Helena does well in her main scene and role of narrator.godmothr

Support Cast: Cinderella has great supporting cast that all give good performance throughout.

Director Review: Kenneth BranaghKenneth does a great job telling the story that every girl loves to hear.

 

Family: Cinderella is one for the whole family to enjoy.

Fantasy: Cinderella brings us into a fantasy idea where magic happens.

Romance: Cinderella brings us into a romantic story of true love.

Settings: Cinderella takes us into the fictional kingdom which all look beautifully created.
Special Effects
: Cinderella uses great effects that all look great in a fictional story.

Suggestion: Cinderella is one to watch with the family. (Family Time)

 

Best Part: Preparing for the ball.

Worst Part: Slightly too long with the final act going on too long.

Funniest Scene: Goose driving.

Favourite Quote: ‘I can’t drive, I’m a goose’.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar.

Box Office: $201 Million

Budget: $95 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tagline: Midnight is just the beginning.

 

Overall: Easy to watch fictional fairy tale that is being retold once more

Ratingcard

 

Ocean’s Eight (2018)

Director: Gary Ross

Writer: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch (Screenplay) George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell (Characters)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Richard Armitage, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Dakota Fanning, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson

 

Plot: Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.


Tagline – The plan is priceless.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Basic Heist Movie

 

Story: Ocean’s Eight starts when Debbie Ocean (Bullock) is released from prison, sister of Danny with the same habits, she heads to New York to connect with her oldest friend Lou (Blanchett) to put together a team to pull of a heist in the Met Gala. Debbie’s team includes celebrity Daphne Kluger (Hathaway), fashion designer Rose Weil (Carter), jeweller Amita (Kaling), computer hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), street hustler Constance (Awkwafina) and retired thief turned tradeswoman Tammy (Paulson).

With the team together we need to learn the plan as Debbie teaches us about the motivation for the heist, can Debbie follow in her brother’s footsteps and prove she can put a team together.

 

Thoughts on Ocean’s Eight

 

Characters – Debbie Ocean is the one that get released from prison, sister of Danny, the heist work runs in her blood too. She puts the team together showing the leadership needed, while also risking the job for her own personal reasons to be involved. There doesn’t seem to be much more about her character though. Lou is the best friend and most reliable person in Debbie’s life, she has been working on her own money making ventures, with this being her chance to make a big payday by bank rolling the plan. She does have the most connection to help the job happen. Daphne Kluger is the famous actress the women use to help transport the necklace, the only way to get it out, she gets to poke fun at the celebrity culture we know, even though she is never in the plan. Rose Weil is the clothing designer in a need of a financial boost, she joins the heist by becoming the designer for Daphne. Amita is the jeweller that gets bought into the team to help make sure the necklace can be replicated, she has good banter with Constance. Constance is the pick pocket that street hustler that can’t sit still and must be on the move. Nine Ball is the tech wizard that likes her code name and helps show the ladies about the new modern way of tracking criminals. Tammy is the retired member of the team, she doesn’t get involved anymore, which gives her a reason to get back out there because family life just isn’t keeping her entertained enough. The problem here is the man the heist is against just doesn’t get anytime on screen to make us hate him.

PerformancesThe performances from the eight ladies are good throughout, each gets there moment in the sun, with Bullock showing good leadership, Hathaway enjoying playing into the celebrity idea, Blanchett doing her best Brad Pitt impression and the rest of the supporting team only increase the eyes on their abilities.

StoryThe story here follows Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie who just like her brother can put a team together for a heist even with her own motivations. Now for an Ocean’s movie, this follows the basic heist idea, with the plan coming together and having to overcome problems. The story does lack a main villain, while we do have one, they are just bad guy, the previous films in the franchise have always made us hate them and they always had a feeling something was going on. It would be fair to say this is one of the more forgettable stories in the franchise with this falling into the third best in the franchise ahead of 12. The brief cameos from former members are fine, though it might have been nice to keep some of the bigger names around the franchise.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe slick action that we are used to in the franchise felt calmer and never gets us believing anything is going to go wrong. The comedy misses for the most part we get to see pokes at the previous films that never works. The crime world helps improve the film as we follow the check list for heist movies.

SettingsThe film is set in and around New York which shows us the big city will always be the big setting for the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The full heist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of villain, the Ocean film have always made us hate the mark, this one doesn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis is another attempted cash in on the Ocean’s franchise, it is mostly an average heist movie, the lack of villainous figure just holds everything back.

 

Overall: Just an Average heist movie.

Rating

 

 

Russell Crowe Weekend – Robin Hood (2010)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay) Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris (Story)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston

 

Plot: In 12th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Robin Hood starts with England at war with France, King Richard the Lionheart is leading his men which does include archer Robin Longstride (Crowe), when Richard is killed in battle the kingdom of England falls into Prince John (Isaac) a stricter ruler that wants to tax the country.

Robin returning a sword finds himself needing to pretend to be Marion Loxley’s (Blanchett) husband in Nottingham, while Godfrey (Strong) continues to play both sides as the French look to take advantage of John’s weaknesses. Robin starts to act in the way we know, stealing from what is heading towards the king to return to the poor but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on Robin Hood

 

Characters/PerformanceRobin Longstribe is an archer with loyal friends, he fights next to King Richard but once he is killed he wants to avoid returning to the new king, he soon finds himself needing to become the hero for the people of the land against the new enemy. Marion is the strong lady that wants what is best for her people wanting to lead in a time where women wouldn’t lead. Prince John becomes king but he is stricter than the previous king as he wants money from people who don’t have it. Godfrey is a man that has been playing both sides to raise himself through the ranks in England or France whoever was to win.

Performance wise, Russell Crowe is fine in this role but if you want to see him at his best Gladiator is superior. Cate Blanchett was an interesting choice here but she does well with her screen time. Mark Strong is always a good choice for villain and does what is needed here. The cast in general is all fine without being great in what is a solid but slow burning film.

StoryRobin Hood is easily one of the most iconic stories in British legend, we have seen plenty of versions of his actions of stealing from the reach giving to the poor, but this time we story has sucked all the fun out of the story and turned it into a medieval story that feels just like everything we have seen in the sub-genre before.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action is everything we have come to expect swords, shields and arrows being used throughout. The adventure side of the film is almost non-existent and calling it a romance film well there isn’t any.

SettingsThe settings are the only highlight as each look like the correct time in question.

Special EffectsThe effects all work for the film without becoming too heavily involved.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor re-imaging or the iconic hero that just doesn’t make the subject matter interesting.

 

Overall: Uninspiring Robin Hood Story.

Rating