Ron Perlman Weekend – The Book of Life (2014)

Director: Jorge R Gutierrez

Writer: Jorge R Gutierrez, Doug Landgale (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube

 

Plot: Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical

 

Story: The Book of Life starts with a school trip being told the story of two Gods Xibalba and La Muerta making a wager to see who gets to rule the land of the living and the land of the dead, their bet follows two young Mexican boys Manolo and Joaquin betting on who will marry Maria.

Manolo is from a bullfighting family and wants to be a musician, while Joaquin becomes General known for fighting off bandits. When everything gets out of hand in the battle between Manolo and Joaquin, Manolo ends up in the land of the dead to save Maria.

 

Thoughts on The Book of Life

 

Characters – Manolo is from a family of bullfighters, he is expected to follow in his ancestor’s footsteps even though he dreams of being a musician. He is part of the bet, he has the better heart trying to win her heart through music, he travels through three worlds to win her heart. Joaquin is the brave fighter, he has been selected by the evil to win Maria’s heart given the medal of everlasting life meaning he can’t die, this adds to his confidence he possesses. Maria is the woman the two are fighting over, she is independent as they come willing to lead her people without needing a husband by her side.

StoryThe story does seem to follow what we saw in Coco in places, this one did come first. We have the central character of Manolo that is expected to follow on path not allowing him to follow his own dream of music. We have the travel through the land of the living, the dead and the forgotten. Where we go to be different is by including Gods that can make a bet to keep them entertained. This story does feel magical from start to finish.

Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy/MusicalThe adventure that Manolo goes on is wonderful to see through the different lands of Mexican culture, this does have good comedy going on through the whole film mostly from the side characters. The fantasy world of the land of the dead and forgotten look beautiful to be travelling through. The songs are delightful to listen to even if some are remixes of famous songs.

SettingsThe settings takes us to Mexico, as we follow the culture of the land, both past and present.

AnimationThe animation looks fantastic, different and what we are used to seeing too, the colours stand out and the different lands have a unique look.


Scene of the Movie –
Forgive song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I had just watched Coco a few weeks again and knowing that movie just stole most of the ideas annoys me.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical animation that leaves you with a happy thought about what you have just seen.

 

Overall: Magical and beautiful.

Rating

 

 

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Daniel Craig Weekend – Logan Lucky (2017)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Rebecca Blunt (Screenplay)

Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank

 

Plot: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.


Tagline – See How The Other Half Steals

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough

 

Story: Logan Lucky starts as we follow Jimmy Logan (Tatum) as he loses his job and lets down his daughter, leaving his sister Mellie (Keough) getting him out of trouble, he loses his job and finds his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Holmes) is moving to the next state. Jimmy’s brother is a one-armed bar tender Clyde (Driver) after his service in Iraq, the three siblings work on a big plan in the life of crime.

Jimmy’s plan is to first break Joe Bang (Craig) out of prison to help rob the Nascar event in North Carolina, after Jimmy has learnt how the money is transferred, will this plan go through as expected?

 

Thoughts on Logan Lucky

 

Characters – Jimmy Logan has been a down on his luck when it comes to jobs, being a responsible father leving him to reach the end of his hope. Jimmy has a plan to rob the Nascar race track on race day after learning how the money is trasnffered, now he puts together his team. His is a good man just wanting the best for his family. Clyde is the brother of Jimmy, he has lost a hand in Iraq and joins his brother in the plan. Joe Bang is the best safe cracker in the south, but he is behind bars, he will work on the team with his own rules which means breaking him out and giving him explosives. Mellie is the sister of the family, she uses her looks to get out of trouble and likes to show off her knowledge of cars.

PerformancesChanning Tatum in the leading role works, he continues to show he can step away from the sex symbol he has created around himself to play the less desirable roles. Adam Drive also shows us another string to his talents in this dead pan comedy roles. Riley Keough is strong too through the film here she plays the typical redneck woman. Daniel Craig gives the best performance in the film, he gets the most laughs with his mad character that he doesn’t go over the top.

StoryThe story is a heist movie from the lower class of America, we have the characters that have fallen on hard times over the usual experienced heist going team. The story works for a heist film and follows the books as you would imagine without being anything overly original and feeling long in places. We have the scene which reveals the heist to finishes off the moments of the story we might not have picked up on earlier.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy feels dead pan for the most part and does keep the tone of the crime side of the story feeling light, which works for the style the film is going for.

SettingsThe settings work because it shows where the characters are from and how difficult their lives are.


Scene of the Movie –
Science time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels long.

Final ThoughtsSimple by the book heist film, it has moments of comedy but it ends up being nothing overly original but easily watchable.

 

Overall: Easy to watch and fun.

Rating

 

 

 

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

 

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Weekend – Stop-Loss (2008)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Richard (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Victor Rasuk, Timothy Olyphant, Ciaran Hinds, Rob Brown

 

Plot: A veteran soldier returns from his completed tour of duty in Iraq, only to find his life turned upside down when he is arbitrarily ordered to return to field duty by the Army.


Tagline – The bravest place to stand is by each other’s side.

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Must Watch Movie

 

Story: Stop-Loss starts as we see the army unit that is touring in Iraq, they come under attack losing men, Brandon King (Phillippe) and Steve Shriver (Tatum) return home with their unit for a weekend of leave with Tommy (Gordon-Levitt) and Eyeball (Brown).

The weekend in Texas shows the effects on war has had on the soldiers, Steve becoming a violent drunk, while Tommy is suffering from losing his best friend on that last mission, Brandon tries to keep them in line while he is about to eave himself. Brandon gets stop-loss meaning he must return to Iraq, but he isn’t going to return, going on the run AWOL from the army with Michelle (Cornish), Steve’s girlfriend, as he wants to find a way to leave the army, while also showing the effects of the war on him.

 

Thoughts on Stop-Loss

 

Characters – Brandon King is the squad leader of his unit, he losses men on his latest tour of duty, but believes he is out with this latest tour, he must remain calm for his men back home while clearly suffering from PTSD from the events. He gets ordered to return to Iraq which he isn’t having leading him to go on the run, searching for answers to stop his return to war. Steve is Brandon’s best friend and fellow star of their home town, he returns home to get married, but his suffering is clearer to see and this puts his relationship with Michelle in the air. Michelle is Steve’s girlfriend, they are meant to be getting married, but when Brandon goes on the wrong, she supports him as her relationship with Steve get worse. Tommy is another member of the unit, he loses his best friend on tour and never recovers, he drinks to get through his nightmares which shows the PTSD he is suffering from, only Brandon can get through to him and with him on the run Tommy is a danger to everyone.

PerformancesRyan Phillippe gives his best performance of his career in this role, he shows the strength his character needs while the weaknesses inside are tearing him up. Channing Tatum broke away from the pretty boys roles first with this role and shows that he does have skills. Abbie Cornish is strong in her role through the film and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fantastic in the supporting role as the PTSD in his character feels the most destructive.

StoryThe story follows the effects of war on three soldiers returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, they are all suffering from different levels of PTSD and shouldn’t be returning to duty, when one gets Stop-loss he goes on the run, ones behaviour stops him going back with this being the only thing he wants and the third who wanted out but decides he wants to return. While the story shows one man trying to get away from his duty, it shows the larger effects of soldiers that are returning with PTSD and how easily they can just break. This is an important story about treating soldiers with respect by not forcing them to return if they are not mentally capable off because of what they have seen, done or been involved in, and how to support them as they try to return to normal lives.

WarThe war side of this film is shown in what happened to these soldiers and the aftermath of what happens when they return without the support required.

SettingsThe settings show both the world they have been living in Iraq and the home back in Texas as they are in desperate search to get on with their life.


Scene of the Movie –
Brothers fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of support the soldiers get.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most impactful movies when it comes to tackle war, it shows how difficult life away from the tours can tear the soldiers apart in a war they didn’t need to be fighting. This has career best performances from the three lead actors and a story which could easily be a reality to any soldier returning from active duty.

 

Overall: Must watch war story.

Rating

 

 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (Screenplay) Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons (Comic Book)

Starring: Taron Egerton, Pedro Pascal, Sophie Cookson, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges

 

Plot: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Blast of Fun

 

Story: Kingsman: The Golden Circle starts when the Kingsman are left for ruin with only Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong) making it out of a calculated attack by drug lord Poppy (Moore) who is using former failed applicant Charlie (Holcroft) to do her work.

Searching for the Doomsday play, Eggsy and Merlin head to Kentucky and for Stateman to work with their agents Tequila (Tatum) Ginger Ale (Berry), Champagne (Bridges) and Whiskey (Pascal) to learn more about the Golden Circle which is the only other clue they have, it isn’t long before Poppy reveals her plan to the world and now the two Kingman and Stateman must work together to stop her with the help of an old friend.

 

Thoughts on Kingsman: The Golden Circle

 

Characters – First the Kingsman Eggys is now a proven Kingsman, a year has passed and his working relationship with Merlin and Roxy are the highest they have ever been. When he losses most of his team, he is reunited with Harry and must use his skills to return Harry to his former glory and save the world. Merlin continues his gadget man role but gets to learn with Ginger Ale about newer technology, where the two work to help the field team. Harry survived, well we get a loose story that works as to why but he is damaged spending the year not remembering who he is, when his memory does return to him, he isn’t the same man but does still have the edge.

The Statesman, Tequila is the agent that first discovers the Kingsman in their base, he asks the questions and feels almost like an American Eggys. Champagne is the leader of the Statesman who sets out the missions. Ginger Ale is the gadget woman that dreams of being able to go into the field but for now she works with Merlin. Whiskey is the agent that goes out into the field with Eggys and is easily the best character from the Statesman side of things with his lasso in hand, he gets all the best fight scenes.

Poppy is our main villain, she is a drug lord living off the grid, she has everyone in the palm of her hands but now she wants to be remembered as the successful businesswoman that she believes she is, by making her drugs legal, which looking at the reasoning seems like a good idea for her motives. She does have an evil side which comes out with how she is demanding people to accept what she is doing or they will die and forcing Elton John to sing for her.

We do have a large cast but with the length of the movie the most important characters do all get the required screen time.

PerformancesTaron Egerton once again does a great job in the leading role showing the street smarts one minute and the upper class the next, Mark Strong and Colin Firth both enjoy their roles never putting a foot wrong. Julianne Moore relishes playing the villain and makes the most of it. The weakest performances come from Bridges and Tatum but that is mostly because they have very few scenes and are both here to drag in a certain audience. Halley Berry does a good job in her role not demanding the attention which other gadget figures have in the past, but to me Pedro Pascal is the scene stealer here, he loves the action sequences, understands how his character is meant to be over the top too.

StoryThe story here does increase the scale of everything, it brings the Kingsman into an international ring of secret agent which opens many more doors in the future, but it does bottle down to needing to face one crazy genius who has an enhanced goon as their main protection. The villain does have good motives for their plan, which is different for most villains who just what the money or revenge, the idea of bringing Harry back while farfetched does play into the bigger story too. If you wanted bigger, you get it here and even though the film is longer than you would like it to be it just doesn’t get slow.

Action/AdventureThe action is large scale with the usual well-placed action sequences with the ski lift being the most impressive of the lot. The adventure side of the film does take the agents all over the world to face different environments for battle.

SettingsAs we said we jump around the world, we start in London, head to Sweden, Kentucky, Italy and Cambodia for our main settings which gives us different environments to fight in.

Special EffectsThis is one of the weakest elements of the film, it does make things bigger which does force the use of CGI and the large-scale scenes do at times take you out of the moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Ski lift.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Travelling around the world never happened so quickly.

Chances of Sequel: I am sure we will get one.

Final ThoughtsIf you wanted a sequel that is just as fun as the original, then you will find it here, it builds a larger universe which we know is something we don’t always need, we have a great villain with a smart plan, we also have enjoyable action throughout.

 

Overall: One of the most fun action films of the year.

Rating