The Runner (2015)

runner-scoreDirector: Austin Stark

Writer: Austin Stark (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sarah Paulson, Peter Fonda, Connie Nielsen, Wendel Pierce, Bryan Batt, Christopher Berry

 

Plot: In the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, an idealistic but flawed politician is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed in a sex scandal.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Political Drama

 

Story: The Runner starts as Louisiana is dealing with the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, politician Colin Pryce (Cage) wants to supporting his state who are not getting supported after the spill which is take jobs from the good people. His fight gets national attention as he starts to fight for the people whose lives are being destroyed.

When it is made public that Colin has had an affair behind his wife Deborah’s (Nielsen) back the state turns on him forcing him to resign and come back stronger as he continues to fight for the people of Louisiana he could make a comeback unlike anyone in the political world.

 

Thoughts on The Runner

 

StoryThis is a very political drama story 101 job we have one man who was great for the people lose his role for affair and goes through tough tests before looking to make the comeback, you have nothing overly interesting going on here in what is a standard political drama.

ThrillerWhile this is more drama based you are kept wondering how Colin can bring his career back around by continuing to do the right thing.

Characters/PerformanceColin is based on a real person who does want to do the right thing for the people but isn’t the most morale correct when it comes to his personal life, this makes him an easy target in a political story. we do have other characters who are all part of the decision-making process that Colin goes through but none really make an impact. When you look at the performances they are all average without being any of the actor’s high points.

SettingsThe settings are all real to the Louisiana as we see the different levels of working classes all dealing with the same problem after the BP oil spill but none of the locations come off feeling memorable.

Final ThoughtsGrab your text books and you will see how to make this movie with ease adding nothing special within the film.

 

Overall: Not the best, not the worst just forgettable.

Ratingard

 

 

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Franchise Weekend – Nymphomaniac Vol 1 (2013)

Director: Lars von Trier

Writer: Lars von Trier (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Stkarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen

 

Plot: A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.


Tagline –  Forget About Love

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Uncomfortable at Times

 

Story: Nymphomaniac Vol 1 starts as a beaten Joe (Gainsbourg) is rescued by Seligman (Skarsgard) taken back to his home to hear her story. Joe gives her story about how she is a nymphomaniac and how she became sexually awoken at a young age, flashback to a younger Joe (Martin) who goes through men for her own pleasure with her best friend B (Clark) in a competition level.

As the sexual stories compare to Seligman’s love of fishing we learn how Joe finds herself in this situation, well for the first chapter of the film.

 

Thoughts on Nymphomaniac Vol 1

 

Characters – Joe is the nymphomaniac, we do meet her at different stages of her life, from her first sexual encounter to her stage where she is left beaten up. We learn how she enjoys sex and has her whole life, she has only followed the idea of sex though, never believed in love, telling her story show where she is now. Seligman is a fisherman that takes Joe in to help her fix up, he listens to her story comparing it to his desire to fish. Jerome is one of the first true lusts that Joe has one that she might have loved, he was her first lover and soon becomes the pretend boss in her life, the one she can’t have. The rest of the characters we meet are those that are involved directly or indirectly with her sexual stories.

PerformancesCharlotte Gainsbourg is good at the telling the story side of the film, she does show the regrets of her characters past, but it is Stacy Martin that does sexual side of the story and as a newcomer does become the star of the show. Skarsgard is always a man you could listen to tell a story, this is all he does though. The performances are fine but no one outside of Martin really stands out.

StoryThe story here follows Joe a nymphomaniac that is telling her story to a man that offered her help in her time off need. Now this is a story about addiction, this time her addiction is sex and how it has affected different moments of her life. The story does give us lots of comparisons between sex and fishing which is weird and does try to make a big statement about people vision of life.

SettingsThe settings show us the different locations that Joe has been having sex and what it means to her life, none of the settings become the most important part of the film though.


Scene of the Movie –
Chapter 4.

That Moment That Annoyed Me LaBeouf doing an accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is part one of a double header, I am not looking forward to part two as this film doesn’t become the most interesting when it comes to everything going on.

 

Overall: Not the most interesting.

Rating

 

 

Kurt Russell Weekend – Soldier (1998)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: David Webb Peoples (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Jason Isaac, Connie Nielsen, Sean Pertwee

 

Plot: A soldier is dumped on a waste disposal planet and lives among a community of crash survivors on the planet and takes it upon himself to defend his new home when genetic engineered soldiers are ordered to eliminate the crash survivors.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Universal Soldier, Wait No

 

Story: Soldier starts in a world where the military select babies to train into emotionless soldiers, Todd 3465 (Russell) is the best of the first batch of trained men but when Colonel Mekum (Isaacs) starts genetically creating his super soldiers with his star being Caine 607 (Lee), Todd finds himself defeat and dumped on a waste disposal planet.

On this planet Todd is taken in by a community that live there after they crash landed but soon his skills make him a threat to even them, forcing him to leave and become the lone traveller on the planet. This quiet group gets ambushed by the Colonel on a clean-up mission leaving Todd to defend the innocent from his replacements.

 

Thoughts on Solider

 

Characters – Todd 3465 is an emotionless soldier trained from a baby to be the best in the field, he doesn’t say much but when he gets replaced he finds himself using his training to protect the innocent. Caine 607 is the new genetically advanced soldier who has replaced Todd, he is faster, stronger and deadlier than Todd. Colonel Mekum is the man that has bought out the replacements to deal with the bigger problems in the universe, not caring about the original models.

PerformanceKurt Russell is solid in this role, he got himself into shape for it but in the 90s the action stars were more physical presence while Russell doesn’t get the full chance to be the guy we know from the 80s. Jason Scott Lee is solid too in his performance, he has the look of the typical enemy our hero must face in combat to achieve his redemption. Jason Isaacs will always be a good choice for a military role and often finds himself working with this director.

StoryThe story is simple to follow, we have modified soldiers that have been replaced by the newest models and the older model must use his skills to defend the people who took him in against the new and improved model. It is a simple story it does feel like Universal Soldier for the most part too.

Action/Sci/FiThe action sequences are mostly the generic ones we have come to know from the soldier versus soldier film but nothing stands out. The sci-fi side of the film comes from the idea the soldiers are trained and built to fight in a futuristic war.

SettingsTh settings are easy to use with most being used in the montage to show Todd’s war record, the most part of the film is on a waste planet which puts our characters on the world there are desperate to escape.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects are fine but parts of them have dated through the years.

Scene of the Movie – Todd versus the world.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel like a Universal Soldier rip off.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to watch action film that does feel like just another branch of the Universal Soldier universe.

 

Overall: Easy to watch actioner.

Rating

 

 

Justice League (2017)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel (Characters)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Connie Nielsen, Henry Cavill, Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Ray Fisher

 

Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.


Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Action Blast

 

Story: Justice League starts as a new unknown threat is attacking the world, with criminals committing acts of terror in the aftermath of Superman’s death. Bruce Wayne (Affleck) teams up with Diana Prince (Gadot) to stop this new threat Steppenwolf, who wants to destroy the world, yeah the usual villain stuff.

The team they recruit includes Barry Allen (Miller), Arthur Curry (Momoa) and Victor Stone (Fisher) as these three new recruits get a better introduction than we saw in the Batman v Superman movie. Using their skills they are left with an ultimate decision which could swing the battle in their favour or risk seeing the world destroyed by this ancient evil.

 

Thoughts on Justice League

 

Characters – Bruce Wayne, knows his weakness, uses his money to recruit the team, his technology to spy on the team and his human touch to connect to the characters. Diana Prince lives a quiet life after the event of Wonder Woman over 100 years ago, she still believes in the good in human and beings from different backgrounds. Barry Allen is a young man living off the grid trying to find a way to get his father out of prison, he gets excited to be able to work with a team and gets most of the laughs. Arthur Curry is a man of mystery, one with the ocean, he has left his past behind him which leads him down the Logan road. Victor Stone is a science experiment gone wrong, part human, part robot needing to learn to control his newly found abilities. Lois Lane is here, she doesn’t do much to be honest. Clark Kent is the heart of the characters drives to fight, he selfless actions last time out give hope to them all.

As for the alter-egos Batman looks so out of place in this film, we have Gods, experiments gone wrong and this random rich guy who is past his best, trying to pull the team together, he is ineffective in the combat scenes too. Wonder Woman gets the best moments in the fights, jumping on the beliefs of just how inspirational the character is. The Flash gets moments that will make you laugh, but you would rather be watching Quicksilver moments. Aquaman gets the awkward underwater scenes, which must be hard to shoot, he enjoys a good fight though. Cyborg is the brains of the team, solving the problems before they happen.

As for the villain, Steppenwolf he is a threat there is no doubt about that, he is ruthless too, but his desire for destruction does feel like it got ripped out of a Transformers movie.

PerformancesBen Affleck is a good Bruce Wayne but not a good Batman, you can believe his arrogance when trying to build the team. Gal Gadot is the star of the hero’s side of the story showing in the world of DC she is their trump card. Erza Miller does add the much-needed comedy to the serious film and hits more than he misses. Jason Momoa is good throughout too, his character feels like what Wonder Woman was in Batman v Superman, we just what more. Ray Fisher is strong too, he gives the character the darkness needed to make us want more from his backstory. The none Justice League performances are fine, but no one gets much time to do anything. Having a CGI villain means we only get the voice work which works for the film.

StoryThe origin of the Justice League, well Marvel did it with the Avengers so, why not. To be fair we got the first seeds of this in Batman v Superman and this continued the ideas to show how they could come together to fight an evil presence. My problems with the story come from the trailers, which show the team working together, much like Stephen King’s IT we follow the individual stories for a large amount of time trying to play the will they won’t they game about joining the team, but the trailer gave this away. If you want to see the story continue you strongly I will say DC’s storytelling for the bigger picture is going in the right direction and this is easy to follow and enjoy is this is your style of film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is big, like you would expect for the superhero movie, sadly Batman doesn’t fit in the action sequences in my opinion. The ci-fi comes from Gods, aliens and experiments working together in battle be it with each other or against.

SettingsThe settings are all over the place, not in a bad way, we get the references to previous films and teases of locations for our new addition.

Special EffectsThe effects are complete mixed bag, we get certain moments which look great but then we get the weak moments that disappoint.


Scene of the Movie –
Rebirth

That Moment That Annoyed Me Batman feels very out of place in this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun addition to the superhero collection, in a year of impressive films this doesn’t crack my top 3 in the genre but doesn’t take the spot of the worst, I could happily enjoy watching this again and I hope you do too.

 

Overall: Fun enjoyable superhero movie for everyone to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

 

Wonder Woman (2017)

Director: Patty Jenkins

Writer: Allan Heinberg (Screenplay) Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs (Story)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Tagmaoui

 

Plot: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: DC Just Kicked Marvel’s Ass

 

Story: Wonder Woman starts in the present day (this works because we know Wonder Woman is part of the modern-day fight) where Diana (Gadot) receives the original photo of her with fellow soldiers Steve Trevor (Pine), Sameer (Taghmaoui), Charlie (Bremner) and The Chief (Rock) during the First World War.

This launches us into a flashback as Diana recounts her training under the greatest Amazon Warrior Antiope (Wright) first against her mother Hippolyta (Nielsen) wishes but soon with open arms. When Steve crashes into the oceans surrounding their island, he comes telling stories of a great war raging. Diana decides it is her destiny to fight to save the innocent and joins Steve in battle, but the outside world is nothing like she had expected and soon she will learn the politics, bravery and horrors of a modern war as she goes in search of Aires the God of war that she believes in causes it all, while Steve is on a mission to stop the latest weapon spreading. Can Diana unlock her destiny and become the hero the world is looking for?

 

Thoughts on Wonder Woman

 

Characters/PerformanceDiana is the warrior that wants to fight to save the world, always pushed to improve her abilities, she learns more about her true self on this adventure, while also having comical moments of not understand but reality checks by others. As Wonder Woman, she is the weapon we all came to see as he highlight of Batman v Superman and just continued to grow our love for this character. Steve Trevor is an American spy, he knows about the new weapon which could end the war and will do everything to stop it from causing more casualties. He is a good man that is showing Diana the way in this world. Hippolyta and Antiope are good character even if they fall into the typical mother and trainer routine. Ludendorff gives us the villain that will do anything to win the war however violent it is. The rest of the characters all either add laughs, menace or surprises to the story.

Gal Gadot is wonderful in this role, she is beautiful, naïve and can kick ass to save people all without blinking an eye. Chris Pine is a brilliant choice for this role as brave American not full off himself either. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright fill the middle-aged roles well both look beautiful and offering the advice from their characters. Danny Huston is easily one of the best go to guys in Hollywood for a villain role and he doesn’t fail to deliver. The rest of the cast all do great jobs throughout.

StoryThe story is an origins story but this time it is our aged mentally Diana looking back on what made her want to protect humans from war. This is also a brilliant war movie showing how unknown eyes would be in complete shock and terror in what they are seeing from the humans in battle. The story does feel grounded when it is just Diana witnessing the war but when she becomes Wonder Woman it turns full comic book which is good for the world created in this universe of DC characters.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is a mix of slow motion action sequences and big war set pieces, each one improving upon the last. The only negative in the action comes in the final battle. The adventure puts us on the mission to try and stop the war. The fantasy comes from Diana’s belief in Gods both good and evil being behind the war.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different environment Diana must enter after leaving her paradise, if it was London, the Front during war or the war bases which battles take place on. This helps us understand each decision Diana is making.

Special EffectsThe effects all look fantastic from start to finish of this movie and full expect to enjoy what you see.

Final ThoughtsAs a comic book movie, this is simply fantastic, wonderfully shot, powerful story that drives Diana to uncover her destiny and enjoy character. But as a major fan of the little things here, if this is Diana remembering the events how does she know what Ludendorff is up to? This of course is just being picky and is a question thrown around when people talk Titanic too, so we are in the top ranks of films here.

 

Overall: DC might just have won the battle this year with this brilliant addition to the superhero genre.

Rating