ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – The Wrestler (2008)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Robert D Siegel (Screenplay)

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Mark Margolis, Todd Barry, Wass Stevens

 

Plot: A faded professional wrestler must retire, but finds his quest for a new life outside the ring a dispiriting struggle.


Tagline – Love. Pain. Glory.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Modern Great

 

Story: The Wrestler starts as we follow Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson (Rourke) a once icon of the wrestling business, still working small events where he is the star attraction but struggling to make ends meet on the payment for his own trailer park home. Randy is close with the everyday people in his life and has his own go to stripper Cassidy (Tomei).

One night after another show stealing performance Randy suffers a heart-attack where he is warned not to continue wrestling or it will kill him. Randy tries to rekindle his broken relationship with his daughter Stephanie (Wood) while balancing the idea that he could have one final big payday, a rematch against his biggest rival.

 

Thoughts on The Wrestler

 

Characters – Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson was once the biggest name in wrestling, now he is nearing retirement where he still performs in small venues. His life is turned upside down after a heart attack where he must decide whether to step away from the limelight or continue performing and risking his health. As a wrestling fan this is an interesting character as it shows just how far someone with go to perform for their fans. Cassidy is the stripper that Randy has become friends with over the years, she keeps her personal life away from the clients but when Randy wants to make their friendship more it turns into a pivotal moment in her life too. Stephanie is the daughter of Randy, he was a terrible father when she grew up, but can she forgive him to start a fresh now, that is the question.

PerformancesMickey Rourke does give the performance of his career here, he breaks away from anything we would know him to make us feel everything we see him go through. Marisa Tomei is great as the stripper with a heart and Evan Rachel Wood continued to show us just how talented she was in her growing career of the time.

StoryThe story follows an aging star of a sport needing to face his own mortality or face losing everything. This is a subject which has always been a popular subject because it is icons who are the ones feel could never finish but once they are gone we miss them. Seeing it from the performers point of view works too because we learn what drives them in the one skill they always believed they had.

SportsThe wrestling sequences do give away secrets of the sport which are well known by now but at the time they were lesser known skills outside the business, but the fights feel as brutal as they seem.

SettingsThe settings show us just how far the once star has fallen from grace, he is now not the man he once was living in trailer park, fighting in small events over the big events he once did.


Scene of the Movie –
Pre-Match Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the great movies of modern time, it shows the drive performers have to continue doing what they love when they shouldn’t anymore which is why this is a must watch for anyone who has a passion.

 

Overall: Must watch for all wrestling fans.

Rating

 

 

Mother! (2017)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Darren Aronofsky (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brain Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson

 

Plot: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.


Tagline – seeing is believing

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Artsy

 

Story: Mother starts as our leading lady (Lawrence) known as Mother (No characters have names) awakens giving us a tour of her beautiful home with husband Him (Bardem) a writer. The couple peace is interrupted by Man (Harris) who visits the couple and the next day his wife Woman (Pfeiffer) arrives.

As Mother becomes irritated by the visitors as people continue to turn up and she questions the love her husband has for her before things escalate into something you don’t see coming.

 

Thoughts on Mother

 

Characters – Mother is the character we follow around for the whole film, we see how she sees things unfolding in the house as the guest continue to arrive while she tries to regain the attention of her husband, she does come off whiny at times though. Him is the husband and writer, he always seems very opening to guest and has an ore about him. Man is the first visitor that comes uninvited to the home, he gets welcomed in and we learn part of his life through the part along with his wife Woman who challenge Mother’s belief.

PerformancesJennifer Lawrence is fine in the leading role but this won’t go down as her best as I found her slightly annoying after a while. Javier Bardem does have a mystery about the character he is playing. We do have solid performance from all the characters through the film.

StoryThe story can easily be looked at as a biblical concept with what happens following our leading lady Mother dealing with the problem visitors. The problem is this is a story that you would need to understand elements of the bible, the other problems come where the certain things get hinted at but don’t seem to follow through with and you would need a lot of patience to get through this film.

Horror/Mystery/ThrillerThe horror elements of the film are poor because nothing seems to come from any hints, the mystery is the highlight of the film because you want to know just what the hell is happening. The film does try to keep you on edge from start to finish.

SettingsThe whole film does take place in the home of the couple as they get visitors which dives into chaos.

Special EffectsThe effects are good through the film without being ground breaking but do fall into the director’s trait.


Scene of the Movie –
The single take in the chaos.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mother character gets annoying quickly.

Final ThoughtsIn the end I didn’t enjoy this film, it feels very long and difficult to describe, it has plenty of tension but things start going nowhere.

 

Overall: Too much going on through the film.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Below (2002)

belowDirector: David Twohy

Writer: Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky, David Twohy (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Holt McCallany, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Chinlund, Olivia Williams, Scott Foley, Andrew Howard, Christopher Fairbank

 

Plot: Strange happenings occur on a WW II submarine.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror Film

 

Story: Below starts in the year 1943 as the USS Tiger Shark submarine must respond to a stranded group of survivors where Captain Brice (Greenwood) and his crew must make the save of the British survivors including the only female now on the vessel Claire (Williams). Brice’s crew including Loomis (McCallany) and Odell (Davis) start to look at the attack on the British ship which doesn’t seem to make sense to Odell.

Discovering that one of the survivors is a Germany and that someone has put the crew at risk we see the tension rise on the ship which has just survived an attack from a Germany battleship. When strange things continue to happen on the ship we are left to wonder whether the submarine is cursed or not, but it could well be something outside this world causing the strange occasions on the ship.

Below is a horror mystery thriller that follows the crew during World War II, it starts with coincidence going on before it dives into the supernatural, while I liked the early side of the being superstition between the soldiers I found the dive into 100% supernatural really doesn’t help the second half of this film. The jump scares are easily to see coming and while it does end up in a cover up style film I appears to feel very forced.

The cast are solid without being truly stand-out with Matt Davis struggling in the leading man role because he comes off too young for the character in question, Greenwood is great as the captain with McCallany and Williams filling up the main stars with good performances. It is the supporting cast of actors you would know else like Fairbank, Flemyng and an early role from comedian Zach Galifianakis which surprised me the most in this film, not because he is the best or worst thing more that I wouldn’t have pictured him in this style of film.

 

Overall: Tension filled horror playing on wartime experiences.

Ratingcard

 

 

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

logoDirector: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Darren Aronofsky, Hubert Selby Jr (Screenplay) Hubert Selby Jr (Book)

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans, Christopher McDonald, Louise Lasser

 

Plot: The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions become stronger.

 

Verdict: Incredible

 

Story: We start by seeing the dysfunctional relationship between Harry and his mother Sara by seeing him take her television which seems to be happening on a regular occasion. This happens to help fuel his drug habit, while they keep their relationship together. While the Sara gets a chance to be on her favourite show but is worried about her weight, Harry comes up with an idea to make money by selling more drugs and making a business with his best friend. While both are trying to deal with their addictions their lives take turns for the worse when they releases what is happening.

When I first watched this I was too young to understand what was really going on and never really appreciated it, but now I have re-watched I have to say this is an incredible story of how four people decent into the world of drug and addiction takes over their lives. I like the fact that there was no happy ending for these people because it shows the harsh reality of the drug user and how far they will go. Each of our four characters ends up going in a direction that is heart breaking for some and each ends up showing the real fear what could happen to them. This ends up being hard to watch but because of that we see the real truth behind the problems. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Ellen Burstyn: Sara Goldfarb mother to Harry who spends her time watching television and when she gets a chance to be on her favourite show. She ends up taking pills to help her lose weight but in the end she becomes addicted to them causing much more serious issue to her health. Ellen is fantastic in her role and most of her part is just her in her own apartment dealing with the side effects of the drugs. (10/10)

 ellen

Jared Leto: Harry Goldfarb young stoner who dreams of making it big by selling drugs, while keeping his girlfriend happy and keeping his drug habit happy. He is a loyal family man who wants to look after his mother the best he can but when things go wrong in the business he takes a chance that will begin to ruin his life forever. Jared gives a great performance and you can clearly see he was ready for a chance to show even more skills in later projects. (9/10)

leto

Jennifer Connelly: Marion Silver against her parents who have given her everything, she wants to make an impact herself but doesn’t know where to start while her drug habit keeps everything in a dream stage. She enters into the world of selling herself to fix her habit and before long she ends up happy just having her fix. Jennifer gives a great performance that was risky too. (9/10)

 jenny

Marlon Wayans: Tyrone C Love Harry’s best friend who helps him come up with the plan to make money. He ends up being the one who gets into trouble and before long he pushes Harry to risk more. Marlon gives a great performance and it is refreshing to see him in a serious role after all the parody roles.h their addictions their lives take turns for the worse when they releases what is happening.hab (8/10)

 

Support Cast: Dealers, friends and doctors all play big parts in helping our characters fix their problems but it is the host of Sara show that ends up helping with her downfall.

 

Director Review: Darren Aronofsky – Brilliant direction from Darren showing that he was always going to go on to make bigger projects but would always struggle to beat this. (10/10)

 

Drama: Just showing the decent our four characters make during their drug problems is wonderfully put together and you actually start to feel for the characters by the end. (10/10)

Music: Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell makes a haunting choice for music through the film always indicating something will be happening. (10/10)

Settings: Solid setting showing the busy lives but most of the film is set in apartments. (8/10)

Suggestion: Even though I am going to give this a really high rating I still think it won’t be a lot of people’s cup of tea, it does come off hard to watch and very much in your face. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Reality of the story.

Worst Part: It will be hard to watch.

Lessons Learned: Don’t do drugs, Jared Leto was always going to be a star.

 

Believability: The reality that people will get that hooked on the drugs comes off real, but I think how far things go could be seen as too much. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Ellen Burstyn was nominated for best actress.

Box Office: $7.3 Million

Budget: $4.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

Overall: In your face consequences of drugs

Rating 93

Noah (2014)

logoDirector: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel (Screenplay)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Nick Nolte, Mark Margolis, Kevin Durand

 

Plot: A man is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.

 

Verdict: Visual Beautiful

 

Story: We all know the basic story about Noah and his Ark. This builds on the idea that if it was real the human challenges sacrifices would be huge to make, leaving us to watch how the family struggles through them all. We also see how they would deal with the large amounts of animals, but question whether they would be the last humans. All together it is built to an epic scale that does test morale questions about how to deal with what is going on. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Russell Crowe: Noah the man who has had the vision about the great flood and along with his family he sets out to protect them and complete the wishes of God. Good performance as one of the greatest characters the Bible ever created. (8/10)

 noah

Jennifer Connelly: Naameh the wife of Noah who supports on the trip and tests his human side over his religious side. Good supporting role and does have some powerful scenes but otherwise is only a background to the bigger picture. (8/10)

connolly

Ray Winstone: Tubal-Cain the villain of the piece who tries to stop the ark and turn one of Noah’s children against him. Good villainous performance without being pure evil, just desperate to survive. (8/10)

 winstone

Anthony Hopkins: Methuselah the mythical oldest man to live from the Bible, father of Noah and guider on the creation of the ark. Good supporting performance that works for Hopkins. (7/10)

 

Emma Watson: Ila found wounded she becomes part of Noah’s family before becoming a love interest for Shem. Good supporting role breaking out of the Harry Potter character most people are used to seeing her in. (8/10)

 watson

Logan Lerman: Ham the middle child who wants to have love but with what is happening he starts to lose faith in his father. Good performance in the lost son role, showing how each side could be right and wrong with the cleansing.  (7/10)

 hem

Douglas Booth: Shem the oldest son and to become leader of the family once Noah has passed, he works as hard as his father and will be a great replacement but when he love interest starts to change his relationship with his father he is ready to step up now. Good performance from the most unknown of the main characters standing toe-to-toe with the greats involved. (8/10)

shem

Director Review: Darren Aronofsky – Good direction to turn the epic story from the Bible into an epic screen adaptation. (8/10)

 

Action: Even though there are only a couple of action scenes they are put together brilliantly. (8/10)

Drama: Good drama showing the relationships between the characters and how they are being effects by what is going on. (9/10)

Settings: Even though each setting is very much CGI is looks beautiful and authentic. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Stunning CGI to create everything going on with the actors. (10/10)

Suggestion: I think this is one to try it might not be for everyone as it is long and a lot of people nowadays don’t believe or care about Biblical stories. (Try)

 

Best Part: The fight before the ark launch.

Worst Part: It is long.

Action Scene Of The Film: The ark launch fight.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: It could get a few nods most for visual effects.

Box Office: $359 Million

Budget: $125 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 18 Minutes

Tagline: Rediscover the epic story of one man and the most remarkable event in our history.

 

Overall: Epic Tale Comes to Life

Rating 80