Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Godzilla (2014) Revisited

Director: Gareth Edwards

Writer: Max Borensteing, Dave Calaham (Screenplay) Ishiro Honda, Takeo Murata, Shugeru Kayama (Character)

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Carson Bolde

 

Plot: The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.


Tagline – The world ends, Godzilla begins

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Godzilla Movie

 

Story: Godzilla starts the Brody family, Joe (Cranston), Sandra (Binoche) and son Ford living in Japan where the parents work in a nuclear reactor when a disaster strikes that Joe believes he sees coming, Sandra is killed and the town is evacuated.

15-Years later Ford (Taylor-Johnson) is married to Elle (Olsen) with his own son Sam (Bolde), he serves in the military and finally under leave, when he must bail his father out of a Japanese prison and reluctantly goes into the quarantine zone in search for answers. The Brody’s learn about that something is being covered up by Dr Ishiro Serizawa (Watanabe) and that secret is about to escape becoming a threat to the world with MUTO and Joe is assigned to try and help bring the creature under control with a little help from Godzilla.

 

Thoughts on Godzilla

 

Characters – Ford Brody was raised in Japan where he lost his mother, now a solider he is used to being away from his own family, giving his father one last chance to forget about the past. Ford finds himself on a mission and journey to get from Japan back to his family in San Francisco, he somehow always ends up in the location of the attacks, doing the right thing without wanting any thank you from the people he saves. Dr Ishiro Serizawa is the man leading the investigation into the first appearance of the creatures, he has studied the cocoons they have emerged from and has ideas on how to stop them. Elle is the wife of Ford’s who is a nurse that stays in town when the attacks start in an attempt to save lives where she can, she doesn’t really do much more than this. Joe is the father of Ford that worked at the nuclear power planet which saw his wife killed, he believes there is more to what happened and is determined to figure it out, risking his life too often.

PerformancesAaron Taylor-Johnson is an actor who has gone onto do bigger projects that have tested his acting, this isn’t a film that will show off much acting, mostly because his character is so painfully average. Elizabeth Olsen suffers from this too which brings both their performances down to solid. Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston bring the best performances with characters we just want to see more from.

StoryThe story brings us the first chapter if the universe, without needing to make a big point about it, which is the weakness in other films, such as 2017 The Mummy. By doing this we get an introduction to Godzilla the one creature that can save humanity from another deadly creature that is using radioactive material to grow. We do have a human side to this story as we follow the military try to do battle against the creatures that are killing millions. Unlike the 1998 Godzilla we do keep the beliefs of what makes the original brilliant in the story behind their origin. The weakness in the story comes from the idea that our main human character just happens to always be in the location of the latest attack surviving against all the odds.

Action/Adventure/Sci-fiThe action in the film plays into the less is more, we get teased early on about the giant creature battles which could frustrate the fans because they will want to see them fight, but the wait for the final battle is worth it as Godzilla gets involved in one of its biggest battles to date. The adventure side of the story must be the focus on Ford and his journey home, just being unlucky when it comes to being in the middle of the battle, with the sci-fi side of the film uses the idea that the giant creatures have been created through our own human errors.

SettingsThe film does go for iconic locations which is understandable with the final battle being in San Francisco providing the watery side for Godzilla’s entrance.

Special EffectsThe film uses the effects that Gareth Edwards is most known for, the less is more idea which makes the film feel like it has the original motivation behind the attack making the fights feel real.


Scene of the Movie –
The big battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The blandness of our human characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant monster movie, that action is giant destructive and worth the wait for, while the human characters could be considered slightly bland, the beginning of this universe is worth the wait.

 

Overall: Must watch monster movie

Rating

 

 

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Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

Tom Hiddleston Weekend – I Saw the Light (2015)

Director: Marc Abraham

Writer: Marc Abraham (Screenplay) Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen (Book)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones, Maddie Hasson, Wrenn Schmidt, David Krumholtz

 

Plot: The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That Interest Factor

 

Story: I Saw the Light starts as we see Hank Williams (Hiddleston) slowly making his name in the music industry in the mid 40’s, his new marriage to Audrey (Olsen) does get questioned because she doesn’t have the singing voice he does and this shows early on when he must decide whether to supporting her singing or make his own career.

We follow how Hank continued to rise in fame but struggled with his own alcohol problems, his rocky marriage and his womanising, which led to his early death.

 

Thoughts on I Saw the Light

 

Characters/PerformanceHank is the famous country singer who rose to fame in the late 40s to become an icon, he has his own personal demons of drinking, womanising and rocky marriage. Audrey is the wife of Hank, she does want to be part of the singing but she doesn’t have the talent Hank has with brings a strain to their marriage.

Performance wise, well where do we start? Hiddleston is fine in this role as is Olsen and do the best with what they can with the story.

StoryNow I like watching bio-pics even if I don’t know who the film is centred around. I don’t know who Hank Williams is or what his most famous song was which I am not using as an excuse for not enjoying this film. I found the story way too long with very little happening and no focus on the music Hank has been making.

Biography/MusicThe story telling takes away from where the bio-pic side of the film should be focusing on where the music is all fine without being anything special.

SettingsThe settings are all fine for the time period in question which is all we need from the story of late 40s early 50s.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very weak bio-pic that doesn’t give us enough to like about the musician Hank Williams to look back and go, he was an interesting guy. The storytelling side of the film comes off confusing and doesn’t give us enough time on the music side of the film.

 

Overall: Weak bio-pic that lacks everything that is needed.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – V – Very Good Girls (2013)

Director: Naomi Foner

Writer: Naomi Foner (Screenplay)

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Boyd Holbrook, Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Peter Sarsgaard

 

Plot: Two New York City girls make a pact to lose their virginity during their first summer out of high school. When they both fall for the same street artist, the friends find their connection tested for the first time.


Tagline – When we lose our innocence, we have to find ourselves.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Romance Between Friends

 

Story: Very Good Girls starts as we met two teenagers Lilly (Fanning) and Gerri (Olsen) who are spending the final summer together before they move onto college. With life problems they are facing they do have each other to keep themselves together and make a pact to lose their virginity before they head off to college.

The two friends both fall for the same street artist David (Holbrook) ad between them they both get a different life change experience through the summer.

 

Thoughts on Very Good Girls

 

Characters – Lilly is the quieter of the two friends, we follow her life with her parents fighting, her job before college and what it was like for her to meet her first love before college, she is trying to hold her family together while not telling Gerri al the details of her life. Gerri is the best friend of Lilly, she tends to do all the talking for the two, she wants David but this summer she must deal with her own personal tragedy. David is the street artist that both the girls fall for, he fits the mysterious figure that can draw the attention of the girls. We do have the parents through the situations the girls are going through too.

PerformancesDakota Fanning is solid enough for this role, she doesn’t do anything wrong, but compared to Olsen for age, there are little elements that show her lack of life experience for this film. Olsen is good she is showing us just capable of filling almost any role in a film here. Boyd Holbrook is good even if he does feel slightly too old for this role which sums up the weakness to a lot of the performances, the age of the leading three is too wide with them meant to be around the same age.

StoryThe story here gives us a coming of age tale between the two friends in their final summer before going of to college. The story does touch on real life situations which could need a best friend to be by your side. We get to see how love can push the boundaries of friendships and how hard life can be when you start to realize that college is the next chapter of life that will big the biggest step you will take and nothing will truly prepare you for it.

RomanceThe romance in the film shows us how two friends can have their friendship pushed to the limits when they both fall for the same boy.

SettingsNew York is a setting that I will always praise for the quality for any setting in the story of growing up, finding yourself.


Scene of the Movie –
The photo.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The two girls don’t seem to have any other friends.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple coming of age movie, it fits the check list well, has good acting but by the ending you will feel we needed that one more spark.

 

Overall: Simple Coming of Age

Rating

 

 

Kodachrome (2018)

Director: Mark Raso

Writer: Jonathan Tropper (Screenplay) A.G. Sulzberger (Article)

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Jason Sudeikis, Ed Harris, Bruce Greenwood, Amanda Brugel, Dennis Haysbert

 

Plot: Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Drama

 

Story: Kodachrome starts as music executive Matt Ryder (Suedikis) is about to lose his job unless he can sign the next big band, even after this he will be looking at the door, his distant father Ben (Harris) is dying and his carer Zoe (Olsen) comes to Matt in hope that he will give his father one final wish, to travel across America to Kansas to go to a photo lab, the last of its kind.

Reluctantly Matt agrees to go on the trip and along the way the two must everything out as we learn about how Matt dislike to his father comes from his own father’s quest for success which never saw him around.

 

Thoughts on Kodachrome

 

Characters – Matt is a music executive, he has been in the industry for years and has always had an ear for talent, his weakness comes from signing the talent. He has a bad relationship with his father since his father wasn’t around during his youth, he goes on a journey with his father in an attempt to build bridges before his father dies, while attempting to save his job. Ben is the father of Matt, he is a world-renowned photographer that has always been using Kodachrome to develop his photos, with the last development lab getting closed down and his health beating him, he wants his son to join him on a cross country trip to make up for his years of errors. Zoe is the carer for Ben, she helps build the first bridge between the two and joins them on the journey, she tries to keep the peace between the two and even offers Matt a new friend who has been on the same dysfunctional paths.

PerformancesJason Sudeikis is a comic actor I have always thought was good in comic roles, but isn’t the one I enjoy his style, for me this is his best performance because he gets to put the odd joke in a serious performance, giving it the grounded level required. Ed Harris is fantastic in his role showing the stubbornness needed but also showing the signs of regret he is feeling. Elizabeth Olsen once again shines in a supporting role in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a father and son that have a distant relationship that must go on a road trip with the father dying of cancer sooner rather than later. The two must put aside the difficulties from the past for a moment of clarity between the two. This story shows that no matter what people have been through they will always be love for family in them, a lesson to be taught and a secret that will keep them strong.

SettingsThe film takes us from New York to Kansas with sights of America along the way, we don’t hit the landmarks, but we get the sense of distant they must travel.


Scene of the Movie –
Parsons the lab.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Who is this band ‘Live’

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best movies of the year, we get a balance between the reality of what will be happening to Ben and the proof family will always love you right up to the final moment when they can create a moment in someone’s life they will never forget.

 

Overall: Must see drama.

Rating