Keira Knightley Weekend – The Jacket (2005)

jackeDirector: John Maybury

Writer: Massy Tadjedin (Screenplay) Tom Bleecker, Marc Rocco (Story)

Starring: Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Lynch, Brad Renfro, Daniel Craig, Steven Mackintosh

 

Plot: A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a Doctor’s experiments, and his life is completely affected by them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing Time Travel Film

 

Story: The Jacket starts when 27-year-old soldier Jack (Brody) in Iraq gets hot and killed in action, well so he thought. One year later he ends up inside a mental institute for a murder he doesn’t remember committing. Jack gets put through an extreme treatment program which leads to him being locked up in a straitjacket in the morgue.

When he awakes he finds himself wondering around the streets picked up by Jackie Price (Knightley) who just so happens to be the very little girl he met 15 years earlier on the day of the murder he is meant to have committed. Somehow he has travelled through time ten years and now Jack finds himself time hopping between time periods trying to put the pieces together and prevent his own death.

The Jacket gives us a time travel film that has to have certain comparison to Jacob’s Ladder, but not for the good reasons. We have a war veteran that gets stuck in a time hop where he can learn to change his present after visiting the future. He wants to change the world for the people who help him but ultimately he would like to save his own life. I see a lot of issues with this story, mainly the reason he gets locked up never gets solved or changed if he can change time. I also found the random time hop never really made sense because we never learn how it happens. There are plenty of holes that need filling in this one as it just doesn’t capture the idea of what it is trying to do.

 

Actor Review

 

Adrien Brody: Jack Starks is the Gulf war veteran who gets wrongfully locked up in a mental institute, while in there he goes through extreme treatment that leads to him going into the future where he must figure out a way to prevent his own death in the past. Adrien is good but doesn’t reach all the levels we know he is capable of.

Keira Knightley: Jackie Price is the young lady Jack meets when he goes into the future, he met a younger version of her in 1992 but in the future she must work with him to uncover what really happened with his death in the past. Keira gives us a good supporting performance without being anything special.

Kris Kristofferson: Dr Becker is the controversial Doctor at the institute, he uses methods that are against any ethical code and his patient getting the newest amount of his treatment is Jack. Kris is good as this doctor but we would like to see a lot more from his character.

Jennifer Jason Leigh: Dr Lorenson is another doctor at the hospital, she sees that not everything is running the way it should and understands that Jack isn’t as mental ill as the rest believe him to be. She is working on a private case which Jack ends up becoming a key part of. Jennifer gives us a strong supporting performance.

Support Cast: The Jacket has a good supporting cast without being too involved with Daniel Craig really stealing most scenes.

Director Review: John MayburyJohn doesn’t give us the best time travel like thriller that keeps us wondering without giving us all the answers.

 

Horror: The Jacket puts us into the horror of not knowing what is going on with his mind-set.

Mystery: The Jacket does try to keep you guessing through the film without giving us much hope of getting anything right.

Sci-Fi: The Jacket gives us a time travel idea without ever looking into what is happening in depth.

Settings: The Jacket doesn’t give us any stand out settings, we have moments in the mental institute otherwise it is just random outside locations.
Special Effects
: The Jacket has good effects when needed.

Suggestion: The Jacket is one to try, it does get a little bit confusing though. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Locked up scenes are good.

Worst Part: Slightly too confusing.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Jacob’s Ladder

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $29 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: the first one is hard, then comes easy

 

Overall: Time travel like film that is filled with confusing and plenty of unanswered questions.

Ratingcard

 

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Road to Perdition (2002)

logoDirector: Sam Mendes

Writer: David Self (Screenplay) Max Allan Collins, Richard Piers Rayner (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Ciaran Hinds, Liam Aiken, Stanley Tucci, Tyler Hoechlin

 

Plot: Bonds of loyalty are put to the test when a hitman’s son witnesses what his father does for a living.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Gangster Revenge Film

 

Story: Road to Perdition starts with the idea that Michael Sullivan has many stories about him and we will be focusing on one six week journey with our narrator. We are in 1931 America where we meet the Sullivan family, we have father Michael (Hanks) mother Annie (Leigh) and children Michael Jr (Hoechlin) and Peter (Aiken). We learn the Michael works for notorious crime boss John Rooney (Newman) and his partner is John’s son Connor (Craig).

Michael is a hitman for John but when the latest talking turns messy Michael Jr becomes a witness as he learns what his father really does for a living. John is all out to make whoever pay for the murder but can’t take out his own son. Connor decides to take measures into his own hands setting up Michael while he takes out his family. John knows the consequences he will have to face so puts Connor into hiding and Michael and his surviving son Michael Jr looking for revenge.

John ends up having to make the decision to let Frank Nitti (Tucci) find someone to finish the job and take Michael out which leads to the hiring of eccentric Maguire (Law) a hitman in his own right with a day job of a photographer. Michael decides to work on getting their attention in his own way while spending time bonding with his son teaching him the tricks of the trade.

Road to Perdition does manage to give me a gangster film I actually enjoyed watching, I have always found gangster films repetitive and tend not to enjoy them too much. I like the revenge angle but I really did enjoy the fact that it wasn’t just the leader going for the kill but he has the reluctantly has to agree the kill. We also get to have a coming of age bonding film between father and son who haven’t spent the time together they could have before the catalyst. I do like the pace the story unfolds and the final moments are shocking even though the opening does hint at something happening. This is an enjoyable even if it is slightly bleak gangster film that changes the way you will see the genre. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Hanks: Michael Sullivan is the hitman with a family who ends up having to go on the run from his former boss after his family is murdered. Michael ends up planning his revenge his way by making the criminal underground fall apart. Tom plays the role you wouldn’t be used to seeing him play here as an almost anti-hero showing that he can step away from his good guy persona. (9/10)

 michael

Paul Newman: John Rooney is the crime boss who has to make the difficult decision once his son takes things too far, he does respect Michael and is devastated by their murder but has to call for the kill on one of his most trusted men after his son starts the job. Paul gives a good performance as the criminal boss. (7/10)

john

Jude Law: Maguire is the hitman assigned kill Michael, he has his own way of doing his job which includes taking photos of his crime scenes before selling them. Jude gives a good performance but I really wish we would have seen more of his character. (7/10)

 maguire

Daniel Craig: Connor Rooney is the hot head partner of Michael whose execution of well-respected mob member leads to him going after the Sullivan family before being hidden for his own protection from a vengeful Michael. Daniel shows how his acting was improving and his stardom was ready to rise. (7/10)

 connor

Tyler Hoechlin: Michael Sullivan Jr is the son of Michael who witnesses the execution before having to go on the run with his father after the rest of his family is killed. He spends 6 weeks with his father learning life lessons including driving and fending for himself. Tyler gives a great performance in a role with big name actors where he never looks out of place. (8/10)

jnuoir

Support Cast: Road to Perdition has supporting characters they turn up to help both sides in the battle, they all end up being generic gangster film characters though.

 

Director Review: Sam Mendes – Sam does a great job directing this one making the film genre watchable without being all about the gangs and an inside revenge film. (8/10)

 

Crime: Road to Perdition puts us into the shady world of crime boss and how easy it is to get onto the bad side of them however loyal they seem to be. (9/10)

Drama: Road to Perdition manages to give us a great drama about a father and son relationship going on with a gangster revenge story being built up around it. (8/10)

Thriller: Road to Perdition does keep you guessing to what will happen next right up to the end. (9/10)

Settings: Road to Perdition creates an authentic group of settings making us feel like we are in the 1930s. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Road to Perdition doesn’t have too many effects but the blood splatter thrown the gun shots all look very good. (8/10)

Suggestion: Road to Perdition is one to watch, I think most people will enjoy this and it really is one that has to be seen by all. (Watch)

 

Best Part: I like the intense scene at the diner.

Worst Part: Hard to find one but being picky the beginning gives away the ending.

Action Scene Of The Film: Hotel shoot out.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won Best Cinematography and nominated for another 5 Oscars.

Box Office: $181 Million

Budget: $80 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: Pray for Michael Sullivan

 

Overall: Easily the best gangster film since the Godfather just with an emotional level that it never achieved.

Rating 82

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Director: Simon West

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

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

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

Verdict

Story: All treasure hunter type action films have a lot to live up to after the first three Indiana Jones films, but having a fan boy base from the video games it had a lot to live up too. Compared to what the fans would want from the game it doesn’t really excel but as an individual film about a tomb raider it turns out very watchable. The story follows Lara all over the world in search to artefacts with friendships being started, finished, betrayed as well as rescued. (8/10)

Cast: Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft – The rich adventurer who is in search for what happened to her father. If any action role was cast perfectly this has to be one with Jolie being a perfect match for video game heroine Lara Croft. Star Performance (9/10)

Iain Glen as Manfred Powell – Working for the illuminarte to find the alignment position on Earth to be able to control time. Has a history with Lara’s father, good cold-hearted villain. (8/10)

 

Daniel Craig as Alex West – A rival tomb raider with a history with Lara, now works for Manfred against Lara but their mutual respect stays through out. Typical Craig performance where he stumbles through with out doing anything eye catching. Poor Performance (5/10)

 

Jon Voight as Lord Richard Croft – The adventurer father who was lost on one of his quest and appears to help guide Lara in her dreams. With limited screen time it’s hard to really judge the performance. (7/10)

 

Noah Taylor as Bryce and Chris Barrie as Hillary –  The tech guy and the butler for Lara usually have a few good one liners in them which gives them both good time on screen and well worth waiting for there next line. Favourite Character Award (8/10)

 

Director: Simon West creates some good action sequences to make the story flow from start to finish and a good pace. (8/10)

Action: With some original action including a rather interesting rope trick in a mansion, chases through the jungle, temples and ice caves all will keep you on the edge of the seat. (9/10)

Settings: Lots of different setting all offering something new to the story. (8/10)

Suggestion: For a good relax action film this is one good one well worth watching so I would be suggesting this to any action fan. (8/10)

Best Part: The rope mansion scene with snippets from the Butler and tech guy.

Worst Part: The comparisons to the video game as a stand alone film it is just as good if not better than all new generation action adventure films.

Favourite Quote: After Lara asks Bryce about a clock ticking Bryce goes ‘Oh, It’s one of those ticking clocks’.

Overall: It’s no Indiana Jones but it is a lot better than the National Treasure films. Angelina as Lara is a huge boost for its appeal and will definitely get the boys interested. If you want an extremely watchable action adventure film this is a good one to go with.

Rating 78%

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, Paul Dano, Keith Carradine, Clancy Brown

 

Story When a man (Craig) wakes up in the middle of nowhere he can’t remember his name he has a mechanical devices on his arm. He still managers to take out a group of men before finding his way into a small western town where Meacham (Brown) fixes him up.

 

In the town local troublemaker Percy Dolarhyde (Dano) before going to far and ending up locked up in jail. His father Woodrow (Ford) comes to collect his son but identifies the mystery man as Jake Lonergan as the man who stole his gold. Woodrow is not the only one who recognises Jake; Ella (Wilde) wants Jake to help her with something.

 

When aliens attack this small town kidnapping some of the locals. Jake and Woodrow must put their differences aside to lead a team of locals in the hunt for the aliens.

 

Verdict This action adventure comes over as a bit of a disappointment really. The comic book adaptation doesn’t leave too much for the audience to think about and uses the same old put your difference aside to become one. The aliens are unoriginal and don’t seem to offer any threat once exposed. The three leads are poor and don’t command any screen presents, but on a positive the support cast Rockwell and Dano both shine in the scenes they are in.

 

Story Mark 7/10 Nice idea but not as good as it should have been

 

Action Mark 7/10 No major action scenes of note.

 

Special Effects Mark 6/10 Not the strongest effort on the special effects sides.

 

Star Performances Paul Dano he character causing trouble in town makes it feels like it could have been a good adventure.

 

Favourite Character Doc (Rockwell) as bar owner in search for his wife actual has all the best lines scenes and character development in a smaller role.

 

Poor Performance Daniel Craig how this guy gets acting jobs is beyond me

 

Harrison Ford this isn’t one of his best but it’s not the 80s anymore.

 

Least Favourite Character Jake boring lead no emotionally levels just terrible

 

Best Part The upside down boat in the middle of land

 

Worst Part rest of it

 

Best Quote Meacham ‘Whether you end up in heaven or hell isn’t God’s plan, It’s your own, you just have to remember what it is.’

 

Fun Trivia Robert Downey Jr. was meant to be the lead. If only he had been.

 

Similar Too – Wild wild west

 

My Rating a disappointing 55%