Bradley Cooper Weekend – Serena (2014)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Ron Rash (Book)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris, Ana Ularu

 

Plot: In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton’s timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena.


Tagline – Some loves can never let you go.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Slow

 

Story: Serena starts as we see how George Pemberton (Cooper) and his timber empire is struggling with money, meeting Serena (Lawrence) the two are married and her past in the timber industry helps George make decisions which will increase the profit he is making.

When George’s long term friend and first to turn to Buchanan (Dencik) starts to turn away from his ideas to work with the local Sheriff McDowell (Jones) who wants to stop the timber trade and make a national park, the life of George is turned upside down with only Serena to keep his head on straight.

 

Thoughts on Serena

 

Characters – George Pemberton is a timber tycoon, he has built up his empire and the work seems to be going well, though he is in financial hardship, friends turning on him and turning to methods which could bring down his whole empire. Serena is the woman from another world, daughter of a timber tycoon herself who tragically lost her family in a fire, she knows how to get the most out of a profit and stars to help run the business with George. Galloway is a tracker that works to help locate dangers for the crew, on the side job he makes sure that George can hunt the animals he desires. Sheriff McDowell is the man against George, he wants to turn the woodland area into a park which could one day bring tourists to the area.

PerformancesBradley Cooper is known more for his work in comedy, sure he has tackled dramas before and usually done a good job, in this he struggles to make any impact on the film, though he isn’t the only one. Jennifer Lawrence is no where near her best in this film as she struggles to make the impact her character seems to need to be having on the film. Rhys Ifans is the only one that seems to be interesting to watch in this film. I would say most of these comes from the poorly written characters.

StoryThe story here follows a timber tycoon who is about to lose his fortune until he meets Serena who only makes thing even crazier for him. Well that is what I got from the story, I am not going to lie, there isn’t much going on in this film, I don’t know if this is based on a real person who just the depression-era in general or even the time scale of the movie. We do seem to have a storyline about deforestation versus a nature park which for the most part is a back burner while also having a story about love I think. This is one of the weakest stories I have ever seen, it doesn’t capture anything we need to make us enjoy what we are seeing.

RomanceThe romance side of the film is a quickie marriage and learning that love happened before the wife arrived.

SettingsThe film is set in Colorado which was a big part of the timber industry, it works for the film without giving us too much to work with visually.


Scene of the Movie –
George saving the crew member.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of it being boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that drags along way to slowly without any meaningful storyline arcs going on, we have unlikable characters and nothing that captures our attention.

 

Overall: Dull is being nice.

Rating

 

 

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Regression (2015)

regressionDirector: Alejandro Amenabar

Writer: Alejandro Amenabar (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Ethan Hawke, David Thewlis, Devon Bostick, Aaron Ashmore, Dale Dickey, David Dencik, Aaron Bruun

 

Plot: A father is accused of a crime he has no memory of committing.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Thriller

 

Story: Regression starts with the based on real events warning with it being around satanic ritual cults, great. In the action side of things, we see John Gray (Dencik) coming to the police station about his daughter Angela (Watson) claims he molested her, before detective Bruce Kenner (Hawke) starts the questioning process.

Bruce has to look into the case which takes a turn when Professor Raines (Thewlis) enters the investigation to try and discover the lost memories in John’s head point the fingers at a George Nesbitt (Ashmore). As Bruce continues to look deeper in the case he discovers the idea of devil worship going on in the house hold but the question remains what really happened?card

Regression is a very slow moving story as we watch the detective struggling with his own sanity while looking to uncover the truth about what has been really happening. We are left wondering where everything will go but by the end we are left to feel very flat. Throwing the based on true story doesn’t help because we end up having to wonder just how much is real or not. I can honestly say this was hard to watch because very little happen.

 

Actor Review

 

Emma Watson: Angela is the young lady who claims to have been molested by her father and devil worshiping cult, she has been branded with a cross. She starts trying to remember, regress is you like the memories of that night and her childhood, working with Detective Bruce Kenner to find out the truth. Emma really is wasted in this role where we would expect to see a lot more from her character.

Ethan Hawke: Bruce is the lead detective trying to find out the truth in this molestation case, he is the only one that Angela is willing to talk to being the only one she can trust, but when the cult learn he is involved they target him to, or is his mind just playing tricks on him. Ethan is the highlight of the film as we see how he deals with everything happening.

David Thewlis: Professor Kenneth Raines is the man of science bought in to use his skills that help people regress their memories from the darkest corners of their minds. He is important because we get a man of science to go against the religious side of the story. David fits this role well but doesn’t get enough time to evolve the character.

Devon Bostick: Roy is the older brother of Angela that left the family mysterious before the assaults starts, he claims they have been going on longer than Angela and we are left to wonder what he part in it all is. Devon gives us a very basic supporting role.

Support Cast: Regression has a big supporting cast that could all be suspect once Bruce goes through his process.

Director Review: Alejandro AmenabarAlejandro tries to give us a thriller but this one really does just fizzle out to nothing.

 

Horror: Regression uses the idea of satanic cults but doesn’t do enough to really scare us.

Mystery: Regression does keep us guessing as to what is happening.

Thriller: Regression tries to bring us into the story on for it all to become slow moving.

Settings: Regression uses the small town to show how close everyone would be if the cult was really going on.
Special Effects
: Regression has easy to pull off effects that don’t really do too much for the film.

Suggestion: Regression is one to try but don’t expect anything too impressive. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Hawke is good throughout.

Worst Part: Too Slow

 

Believability: This one is up to you to think what you want to believe.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: ear always finds its victim.

 

Overall: Disappointingly slow thriller that really goes nowhere fast.

Ratingreal card

 

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Writer: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan,

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, Ciaran Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Dencik

 

Story: After Control (Hurt) hears there is a double agent with the higher ups in the MI6 he starts to recruit trusted spies to uncover the truth. After the first mission with Jim Prideaux (Strong) goes sour Control sets out another attempt with formerly retired agent George Smiley (Oldman).

 

Smiley teams with young agent Peter Guillam (Cumberbatch) and rogue agent Ricki Tarr (Hardy) to investigate the truth. The five names that could the suspects are

  • Percy Allenline (Jones)
  • Toby Esterhase (Dencik)
  • Roy Bland (Hinds)
  • Bill Haydon (Firth)
  • And Smiley himself.

 

Can Smiley uncover the truth with all the plot turns unfolding around every corner?

 

Verdict: This British thriller based on the novel by John Le Carre and a remake of the drama with the same name made by the BBC is a very engrossing story. Having recently being nominated for three Oscars including best actor for Gary Oldman this is one spy thriller to be watching. The cast is wonderfully ensemble of British talent who all shine through out. With Oscar season coming up I suggest you watch this movie before.

 

Story Mark 10/10 Brilliant story, which unfolds at a perfect pace.

 

Character Development Mark 9/10 Each characters secret unfolds as you learn more about the character.

 

Star Performances: Gary Oldman his Oscar nomination is well deserved. Overall every single actor gives a top performance through out.

 

Favourite Character: Ricki Tarr the agent with truth and more detailed reason for it to be uncovered.

 

Least Favourite Character: Billy Hayden stuck up agent very un-likable character thanks to brilliant performance from Colin Firth.

 

Best Part: The story itself really

 

Worst Part: May struggle to make a mark in the US with a British heavy cast.

 

Best Quote: Smiley ‘We are not so very different, you and I. We’ve both spent our lives looking for the weaknesses in one another.’

 

My Rating 92%