Daniel Craig Weekend – Defiance (2008)

Director: Edward Zwick

Writer: Clayton Frohman, Edward Zwick (Screenplay) Nechama Tec (Book)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos, Allan Corduner, Mark Feuerstein, Tomas Arana

 

Plot: Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters, and endeavor to build a village, in order to protect themselves and about one thousand Jewish non-combatants.


Tagline – Freedom begins with an act of defiance!

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazing Story of the Tragedy of War

 

Story: Defiance starts as the Bielski brothers Tuvia (Craig), Zus (Schreiber) and Asael (Bell) set up camp in the forests of Belarus for Jews during the war, knowing they would become slaughtered if the Germans came across them. Tuvia wants to make sure the group survive, while Zus wants to fight back against them.

As the conflict between the brothers becomes clearer, Zus joins the Russian resistance to fight back, while Tuvia continues to grow the group offering the only hope of survival for the men, women and children.

 

Thoughts on Defiance

 

Characters – Tuvia wants safety for the innocent people in the war, mostly the Jews of Belarus, he offers them shelter in exchange for labour to make their community whole, guards them from the dangers that could come from the war, he makes the difficult decisions others simply couldn’t decide on. Zus wants to combative defence against the German’s he will eventually clash with his brother before joining the Russian’s against the German, always being left to wonder if he made the right decision. Asael is the younger of the three brothers, he learns to grow up through this war and his action show that he has given his own older brother the hope he needs to survive. Lilka is one of the women saved from the ghetto, she becomes somebody that challenges Tuvia to make the right decisions through the difficult times he is going through. We have a lot of support character who are part of this journey to show just how difficult surviving the war would have been for the innocent or helpless.

PerformancesDaniel Craig takes the leading role and shows all his strengths as an actor, he makes us believe that he is struggling with each and every expression he makes, this is likewise for Schreiber as the two show even with conflict they can work together. Jamie Bell continued to show he was growing up into a great actor ready for the more adult roles and with a supporting cast that contains Oscar nominated stars, we see the abilities involved with the cast.

StoryThe story here shows the incredible story of the Bielski brothers that gave hope to thousands of Jews during World War II, while the two oldest might fight over ideas of how to survive the war, they both want the same thing, freedom and safety for their people. We have seen many different stories of people doing incredible things to survive the war and never ask for anything in return is always growing, it is an important part of history that should never be forgotten and this film’s story shows us just how impossible their stories seemed.

Action/History/WarThe action in the film shows us the fighting suffered through war, the sequences show how quickly the peaceful locations can become ruined and just how war made people do things they never thought they would. This is also an important part of history which simply shouldn’t ever be forgotten.

SettingsSet mostly in the forest, this shows how the victims of war would be in hiding just hoping they never got seen by anybody who would come after them.


Scene of the Movie –
The journey.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The faith side while important does seem to take over at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is yet another amazing story of survival during the war, it showed how one family risked everything to make sure others were safe and shouldn’t ever be forgotten.

 

Overall: Powerful and important.

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

 

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) Revisited

This is a revisited review, I first did this as one of my very first reviews in 2012.

 

Director: Simon West

Writer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman (Screenplay) Sara B Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig, Chris Barrie, Leslie Phillips

 

Plot: Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artefacts.


Tagline – Who Is Lara Croft?

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Fun

 

Story: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starts on the anniversary of Lara Croft’s (Jolie) father death, with a once in a lifetime planetary alinement happening, Lara just so happens to discover the all seeing eye in her mansion and now she is involved in an adventure she is interested in. Lara’s connection lead her to Manfred Powell (Glen) a man assigned to locate the eye for secret society that want to use its powers for their own desires.

Once Manfred takes the artefact, Lara must go on adventure showing her tomb raiding skills hoping to stop them powerful device causing havoc on the world.

 

Thoughts on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

 

Characters – Lara Croft lifted straight from the video game, the Lady of Croft Manor, she has found treasures all over the world becoming slightly bored of the popular location, getting a hidden message from her later father Lara’s interest spikes and soon she will be battle a secret society that are using her latest discovery to hopefully control time. We know she is the kick ass action heroine from the video games, calm through each situation, competitive rivalry with Alex West and the best in her field. Lord Richard Croft had died before the story starts, he appears in dreams guiding Lara as he was the one that trained her, he started learning about this event long before it started. Manfred Powell is hired by an underground society that want control of time, he will do anything to get what he wants to prove his value to the society and doesn’t lift a finger when it comes to searching for treasure. Alex West is the American rival to Lara, he works for money over desire to find treasure even if the two do just have an honest rivalry. Bryce and Hillary are the two most trusted people in Lara’s life, one works on her tech while the other looks after the manor.

PerformancesAngelina Jolie was the perfect choice in the year 2001 for this role, she was the best action heroine for the time, had the look of Lara Croft down to perfection as well as the swagger filled attitude. Jon Voight while only in a couple of scenes is good as the father figure needed for Lara. Iain Glen is good as the calculated villain who can kill just as quickly as Lara, he shows the calmness through the film to stay a threat in the film. Daniel Craig as the rival tomb raider is fine, his accent is his weakness though. Noah Taylor and Chris Barrie get most of the laughs which keeps the story on a lighter note.

StoryThe story gives us one of Lara Croft adventures as a Tomb Raider against the Illuminati. The story shows us an established Lara, accepting her place in the high society with connections in the antique world, we see she is trained in combat and this helps us get right into the story. the story shows us how Lara is almost bored of the generic treasure hunts and this knew one sparks her interest once again. When it comes to the story it unfolds as you would imagine, going from one location to the next location for the next chapter of the adventure as we get the different parts to complete the quest.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is set pieces set up on the different adventures Lara is on, be it in the tombs or in the manor which get bigger as the film goes on.

SettingsThe settings take us from the manor, to the tombs in the jungle and Siberia as well as Venice. Each place would be where you could imagine Lara going on her adventures.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mix of good and bad, for the time however they would have been excellent to watch, with the stone figures in the tomb sequence.


Scene of the Movie –
First Tomb sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain effects have dated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action adventure bring to life one of the most iconic video game characters in Lara Croft.

 

Overall: Action adventure worth watching.

Rating

 

 

The Golden Compass (2007)

Director: Chris Weitz

Writer: Chris Weitz (Screenplay) Philip Pullman (Novel)

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Ben Walker, Freddie Highmore, Ian McKellen, Eva Green, Sam Elliott

 

Plot: In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Been Here Seen This

 

Story: The Golden Compass starts in a world with parallel universes where the human spirits can walk next to humans in animal form known as daemons, with a Golden Compass being the only way to find the different universes. We meet young Lyra (Richards) who lives with her Uncle Lord Asriel (Craig) who is an adventurer that is seeking the Dust which can travel between universes.

With the children getting taken by Goblers Lyra in her high life promises to search for poor boy Roger’s (Walker). Lyra is chosen by Mrs Coulter (Kidman) to help with her research in the North which just so happens to be where Lord Asriel is heading, in what looks like a battle for the dust.

Learning that Mrs Coulter is behind the missing children Lyra teams up with a host of other characters in the Gyptians as they search for the children and her Uncle before Coulter’s research is complete.

 

Thoughts on The Golden Compass

 

Characters/PerformanceLyra is the type of leading child you will need for this type of film, she comes from a rich background, she is curious and brave. Mrs Coulter comes along as the villainous character that believes in the cause she is fighting for with Lord Asriel is the explorer looking to change the future. The rest of the characters do their part well as Lyra goes on her adventure.

Performance wise, Kidman and Craig both do a good job in their roles, but it is Richards that really struggles in the lead role, she is meant to come off posh but too often comes off a common which takes away from the character.

StoryThe story is one I have come to believe was butchered from the book, which when you watch you can see, it gets the basics correct but anything which involved developing a character sadly gets forgotten as the film unfolds. The story ends up becoming slightly messy and focuses on just doing action to cover the lack of story.

Adventure/Family/FantasyThe adventure side of this film should be clear, but it just shows one person’s adventure, I don’t feel the family could enjoy this movie but the fantasy world we find ourselves in does work well.

SettingsThe settings all look good with their own fancy way of saying countries we all know in the world just having slight twists on them.

Special EffectsMost of the special effects all work well, but there are moments which look pretty bad for the CGI.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a cliff hanger that never gets complete, well here is the film for you.

 

Overall: This seems like a solid start to the franchise but we will never see the end.

Rating

 

 

Layer Cake (2004)

layer cakDirector: Matthew Vaughn

Writer: J.J. Connolly (Screenplay) J.J. Connolly (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Jamie Foreman, Tom Hardy, Sienna Miller, Tamer Hassan, Kenneth Dranham, Michael Gambon, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Thriller

 

Story: Layer Cake starts as we meet the guy (Craig) we never learn his name who has taken advantage of being a business man within the drug world, he keeps everything strictly business with a plan to get out of the business with his latest deal completed. When his boss Jimmy Price (Cranham) sends for him to find his daughter Charlie (Lunghi) while also working with loose cannon Duke (Foreman) on the latest job. The problem is the Duke has started an international war with his latest attempt to get a score. Can our guy get through all of the troubles and out of the business with his life?

Layer Cake enters into the type of film I personally don’t enjoy too much and that is the drug crime world ones, that isn’t going to judge whether I think this is a god or bad film. I liked how the usage of drugs was minimal to no existent in the film. The story is filled with twists and turns along the way which really does keep us guessing as we see where the final outcome of the film will take us. I did find myself enjoy this one and would suggest to people to watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Craig: We never learn the name of this character but he is our leading man through the story, a smart business man in the world of drugs. He finds himself stuck doing one last job before trying to get out of the business but this job leads him into going against all of his business plans. Daniel is good in this leading role showing he was ready for the next step up.

Colm Meaney: Gene is the second in command to Jimmy who has always been the middle man between the guy and Jimmy until the two have to work together to clean up the mess. Colm is your always reliable supporting character.

Kenneth Cranham: Jimmy Price is the supplier that the guy works for, he hires him to find his partners daughter and deal with the Duke a loose cannon. He is loud and will do anything to make sure he makes extra money. Kenneth is solid as this gangster character who has too much for their own good.

Sienna Miller: Tammy is a mystery girl that comes into the guy’s life that seems to have a plan that should be keeping her ahead of anyone else. Sienna is good and bursts onto the big screen with this role.

Support Cast: Layer Cake has a big supporting cast that does have a lot of familiar faces in that all become part of the bigger picture with our leading man, all giving good performance throughout.

Director Review: Matthew VaughnMatthew shows off all his style in this film showing how he can handle multiple story branches around the main one going on.

 

Crime: Layer Cake puts our characters in the middle of the drug world where we don’t know who to trust.

Thriller: Layer Cake does keep us guessing to what will happen next through the story.

Settings: Layer Cake keeps nearly all of the settings being what feels like the criminal underworld location which works out nicely for the film.
Special Effects
: Layer Cake has good effects when needed but only uses them for the occasions needed.

Suggestion: Layer Cake is one I do feel or the gangster fans will enjoy. (Gangster Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Craig shows he is ready to a leading man in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly too much going on.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

Overall: Slick crime thriller from start to finish.

Ratingcard