Oscar Isaac Weekend – Sucker Punch (2011)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Zack Snyder, Steve Shibuya (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm, Scott Glenn

 

Plot: A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, envisioning a plan to help her escape.


Tagline – You Will Be Unprepared.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sexy & Stylish

 

Story: Sucker Punch Starts when Babydoll (Browning) is se to a mental institute by her evil step-father, looking to cope with this new world, she creates an alternative reality where the other patients Sweet Pea (Cornish), Rocket (Malone), Blondie (Hudgens) and Amber (Chung) entertain clients for Blue Jones (Isaac) the orderly who in this world is a gangster.

Babydoll has a plan to escape which involved winning over the girls, most support him, while Sweet Pea isn’t so happy to go along with the plan, with each performance putting the girls in a life or death situation outside of the current reality.

 

Thoughts on Sucker Punch

 

Characters – Babydoll is thrown into a mental home after trying to defend her younger sister from their abusive stepfather, here she knows she has five days before it is lights out, which means she must plan her escape, which sees her create alternative reality where she can escape the hands of the people who will end her life. Sweet Pea is the eldest the girls in the home, she is most opposed to going through with the escape plan, believe it will get the rest of the girls in trouble. Rocket is the first of the girls to let Babydoll in after being rescued by her, she guides her around the home teaching her just what they need to know to survive. Blondie and Amber some off as the two naïve of the girls as they will go along with any idea which would make their lives easier. Dr Gorski looks after the girls preparing them for their performances. Blue Jones is the one that runs the club, an orderly in the home that holds the key to the only exit.

PerformancesEmily Browning in the leading role fits the part perfectly, we needed her character to look the youngest of the group. Abbie Cornish fits the oldest of the girl’s role well too because she see her vulnerable side through the film, while trying to be the strongest. Jena Malone plays the middle ground between the girls well as we see just how conflicted her character becomes through the film. When we get into the supporting cast, we do know that we performances that fit the film without looking out of place in any point in the film.

StoryThe story can be cut down to a simple escape plan movie, that would be the simplest way to describe the story, only this isn’t a simple movie. It creates worlds, within worlds to cope with an impending outcome for Babygirl. The idea that we jump into other realities does help the film feel a lot more enjoyable because the wildly imaginative ideas only improve the story, even if it could have borrowed from many subgenres. While this does have a comic book feel and you could easily see more chapters being added to make more adventures, it does have to go down as original in the story front, something that shouldn’t ever be criticised.

Action/FantasyThe action is massive set pieces each one from a different eras from a samurai to war, they all work and feel unique to this film, which is filled with fantasy ideas of just what the characters use to create the world they can fight through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just where the girl’s minds will go through the performances, each one makes the mission to escape feel like we are fighting for something.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic, they show us just how you can create something this visually stunning no matter how big it could be.


Scene of the Movie –
Dragon fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Blondie and Amber are too similar.

Final ThoughtsThis is a truly ambitious movie, it shows us just how you can make an original movie which will completely go against anything you believed you would be seeing.

 

Overall: Brave, ambitious, wildly over the top, what more could you want?

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – P – Pompeii (2014)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Michael Robert Johnson (Screenplay)

Starring: Kit Harrington, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland

 

Plot: A slave-turned-gladiator finds himself in a race against time to save his true love, who has been betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts, he must fight to save his beloved as Pompeii crumbles around him.


Tagline – No warning. No escape

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Mindless Action

 

Story: Pompeii starts as the last Celt Milo (Harrington) as slaved turned gladiator gets transported to Pompeii for the last arena to show his power in. while Milo is being prepared for his latest fight against fearless gladiator Atticus (Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who has one last fight before freedom. Outside his prison, Cassia (Browning) is being lined-up for any bachelors from around the world including Corvus (Sutherland) the man that led the army that butchered Milo’s family.

When Milo and Cassia meet they know they are in love, though the different positions making their love impossible, shown the true colours of Corvus, it is the volcano Mount Vesuvius that will decide these characters fates.

 

Thoughts on Pompeii

 

Characters – Milo is a Celt, his family was butchered when he was a young boy, now he is the last of his kind, a slave turned gladiator, one that is unbeaten in combat. He falls for Cassia the heir to the throne of Pompeii and once the destruction starts he must risk his life to save her. Cassia is the heir to the throne, not interested in the men she is being arranged with seeing something different in Milo, she is being forced to marry Corvus to save her family until the volcano strikes and she needs saving by her true love. Corvus is the evil ruler from Rome, he has conquered around the world killing millions, he will do anything to survive including killing innocent people and uses his position of power to do whatever he wants. Atticus is fellow gladiator who fights with honour even though this could be his last fight because winning would me freedom, he becomes friends with Milo as they work together to escape their enemies.

PerformancesKit Harrington freshly out of Game of Thrones step into this role and does a good job without needing to do too much with the fighting being great to watch. Emily Browning is good too which is same for most of the supporting cast, we do have a couple of weak performances and over the top Kiefer Sutherland is one you will laugh off.

StoryThe story here tries to create the normal Roman traditions on the eve of the Mount Vesuvius eruption. So we do need to break this down a little bit more, first the whole gladiator fighting for freedom and the love of the heir of the city is mostly forgettable, it is almost trying to pull a Titanic with this angle for a love story in the mist of a disaster. Once the eruption starts the story gets more interesting because we learn the true colour of characters, though we do know the outcome making certain moments in the escape feel almost pointless including one where Atticus saves a little girl.  For a disaster movie with elements around it, we have an entertaining enough story, just one that tries too hard to give a fictionally twist on a real event.

Action/Adventure/History/RomanceThe action in the film is good to watch and easily the highlight, we have different sword or weapon fights, chase sequences and destruction. You could easily say the adventure side of things is Milo trying to escape which is a fair enough game to be watching. Now the history, this is hard because this eruption was a real event, what was going on at the time isn’t as clear. Mixing the real events with this nonsense romantic angle doesn’t help though.

SettingsThe film does make us feel like we are in Pompeii for the most part, the destruction sequences show us just how much of a panic it would have been for the victims of the disaster.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mixed, we get moments that could have been better mostly to do with the larger sequences though.


Scene of the Movie –
The eruption.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Milo in the gladiator time, really?

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid enough disaster movie that does the action well though it has a pointless romance angle.

 

Overall: Simple disaster movie.

Rating

 

 

Oscar Season Challenge – Legend (2015)

Movie Rob and I are continuing our journey through potential Oscar contenders with this one Legend.

 

legendDirector: Brian Helgeland

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay) John Pearson (Book)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Paul Bettany, Taron Egerton, Christopher Eccleston, David Thewlis, Colin Morgan, Paul Anderson

 

Plot: The film tells the story of the identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray, two of the most notorious criminals in British history, and their organised crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960s.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Gangster Biographical Picture

 

Story: Legend starts as we meet Reggie Kray (Hardy) the calm polite of the twins as he goes about his everyday routine being followed by detective Nipper Read (Eccleston). We also meet Ronald Kray (Hardy) who upon his time in jail he ends up in mental home after being declared insane showing the difference between the two.

We get to see the Kray twins start off as just men running the East end to rise up to become the most notorious gangsters in London as well as being untouchable within the City, but what rises always falls all told from the love of Reggie, Frances (Browning).

Legend gives us a look at two of the most famous gangster that ruled London in the 1960-70s that show how the rise of power became too much for the twins. Their different styles really are what makes this interesting see how one being calm and the other on edge shows that the two complement each other nicely. When it comes to the gangster side of the story I do think this will come off slightly short for the fans because we learn more about the men than what they did. We have enough different versions of this story following these characters and this is the only one I saw so I can’t judge how well this stands up against others.

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Hardy: Ronald and Reginald Kray, Ronald is the psychopathic brother that wants to be a real gangster, Reggie is the calm business like side of the twins who wants to rule London but follows the calmer approach. They can both handle themselves in fights and have very different interests in life but they both are part of the most notorious gangsters London has ever seen. Tom is brilliant in this role playing both these brothers.kray

Emily Browning: Frances Shea is the love interest of Reggie Kray she is from a normal family and is the sister of his driver. She helps keep him from becoming like his brother but will not stay with him if he keeps returning to jail. Emily is good in this role playing the narrator to the story.fracis

David Thewlis: Leslie Payne is the public relations man for the Kray’s while Reggie picks him Ronny doesn’t get along with his ways of doing things. David is good in this supporting role.

Taron Egerton: Teddy Smith is one of Ronny’s boys that also is his love interest, he is happy to get his hands dirty when it comes to doing the dirty work for Ronny. Taron is great in this supporting role showing he can play two different roles after his performance in Kingsman.

Support CastLegend has a great supporting cast that all help show the storyline of the brothers.

Director Review: Brian Helgeland Brian gives us a good look at two iconic men in British history.

 

Biographical: Legend shows us two iconic men in British gangster history very well.

Crime: Legend brings us into the criminal underworld of the Kray Twins.

Settings: Legend recreates the settings to show us London for the same time period.  

Suggestion: Legend is one for all the gangster to enjoy without being too graphic. (Gangster Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Hardy is brilliant.

Worst Part: We don’t see enough of what the two get up to in the crime world.

 

Believability:  Based on the real criminal brothers.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Not likely but could have an outside shot.

Runtime: 2 Hour 11 Minutes

Tagline: Power. Fear. Family.

Trivia: Tom Hardy actually brought his wife to the film premiere as his date. They both also brought their dog.

 

Overall: Gangster film that really ends up showing two men in a positive light rather than the true criminals they really were.

Ratingcard

 

Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – Darkness Falls (2003)

logoDirector: Jonathan Liebesman

Writer: John Fasano, James Vanderbilt, Joe Harris (Screenplay) Joe Harris (Story)

Starring: Chaney Kley, Emma Caulfield, Lee Cormie, Grant Piro, Sullivan Stapleton, Steve Mouzakis, Peter Curtin, Kestie Morassi, Jenny Lovell, Joshua Anderson, Emily Browning

 

Plot: A vengeful spirit has taken the form of the Tooth Fairy to exact vengeance on the town that lynched her 150 years earlier. Her only opposition is the only child, now grown up, who has survived her before.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Short but Sweet

 

Story: Darkness Falls starts by explaining the legend of Matilda Dixon who was a loved member of the town who used to give coins to the children of the town after they lose their teeth gaining her the nickname ‘The Tooth Fairy’. After a fire she became disfigured but the town burns her when two children don’t come home, she puts curses on the town and after the children are found safe the town of Darkness Falls buries the secret. Matilda curse reads ‘What I took before in kindness, I will take forever in revenge’.

We see young Kyle (Anderson) lose his final baby tooth he does what every kid does and puts it under his pillow but when he gets suddenly awaken by the noise of the Tooth Fairy he catches a glimpse at her. Kyle’s life is going to change forever when the Tooth Fairy kills his mother but can’t get to him because of the light.

12 years later we get to meet a grown up version of Kyle’s school sweetheart Caitlin (Caulfield) whose own little brother Michael (Cormie) is struggling with the same problem hiding in the light. Caitlin reaches out to Kyle (Kley) who she hasn’t seen since the night out his mother’s death trying to find answers. Kyle decides to return to Darkness Falls to help even if he hasn’t got over the problem. When a local gets killed by the Tooth Fairy the town turns on Kyle framing him for the murder. Caitlin must team up with Kyle to save her brother and end the curse once and for all.

Darkness Falls is a horror film that builds on legend that children are led to believe and turns it dark, we all know the idea of the tooth fairy coming to take teeth in exchange for money and we all know it is all fake, but add in an urban legend you do actually get a frightening idea. I can’t help but want to compare this to ‘The Boogeyman’ having very similar storyline and yes I know this came out first. I feel this has good moments but I don’t quite understand how the Tooth Fairy suddenly went on a murderous rampage because she starts out slowly stalking the prey but suddenly just bursts into room to kill as many people as possible. I also feel the film is too short but then again because it is short it never seems to want to let you take a breath. This is one the horror fans will enjoy but don’t expect too much from it. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Chaney Kley: Kyle Walsh is the traumatised young man who has been frightened of the dark for most of his life after seeing the Tooth Fairy at a young age. He returns to the town to help his childhood sweethearts little brother and to face his demon ending the curse once and for all. Chaney does a solid job but I can’t help but think he is a cheaper Ryan Reynolds. (6/10)

 kyle

Emma Caulfield: Caitlin Greene is the former sweetheart of Kyle whose younger brother is now being haunted by the Tooth Fairy, she reconnects with Kyle hoping to get the answers. Emma does a solid job but never really gets enough time to do much in the film. (5/10)

 

Lee Cormie: Michael Greene is the one boy being haunted by the Tooth Fairy that Kyle has returned to town to help. Lee does gives us a terrified child performance which works very well in the film. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Darkness Falls has a supporting cast that really is all disposable characters that don’t really do much for the film.

 

Director Review: Jonathan Liebesman – Jonathan does give us a very standard horror that doesn’t give too much new to the genre. (6/10)

 

Horror: Darkness Falls has plenty of easy jump scares but doesn’t build the tension is needed. (5/10)

Thriller: Darkness Falls doesn’t let you go from the first return and keeps things going at a steady pace throughout. (7/10)

Settings: Darkness Falls uses the small isolated town for the story which works to make the urban legend become more realistic. (7/10)
Special Effects
: Darkness Falls has good effects for the tooth fairy creation. (8/10)

Suggestion: Darkness Falls is one for the horror fans to enjoy but just enjoy don’t expect too much. (Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Urban legend turned dark is nice touch.

Worst Part: Too short.

Scariest Scene: Opening sequence.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: The Boogeyman

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $47.5 Million

Budget: $11 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

Tagline: Stay In The Light!

Trivia: The closing credits run for 11 minutes. This is because without the extra time, the movie would have been considered too short to release theatrically.

 

Overall: Darkness Falls is a solid horror that has good jump scares that will keep the popcorn fans happy but won’t satisfy the true horror fans.

Rating 60

Ghost Ship (2002)

Director: Steve Beck

Writer: Mark Hanlon

Starring: Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington, Alex Dimitriades, Karl Urban, Emily Browning.

 

Story When a team of salvagers lead by Captain Sean Murphy (Byrne) also having Epps (Margulies), Dodge (Eldard), Greer (Washington), Santos (Dimitriades) and Munder (Urban). After completing a difficult job they look to head their separate ways until the next jobs comes up. Before they go Jack Ferriman (Harrington) approaches the team with a job for a cruise liner drifting in Open Ocean.

 

The team take the job and head out to locate the cruise liner. As they arrive at the cruise liner they discover it is a ship that disappeared forty years ago. Upon boarding the ship strange things start happening starting with Epps seeing a little girl (Browning) in the middle of the main floor.

 

With the strange goings on will the crew be able to salvage the ship before its too late or will the events on the ship take there toll on the crew?

 

Verdict This horror thriller poses a lot of similarities with such films as Event Horizon and Lost Voyage. Having lots of attempts at jumps that don’t really surprise it’s the story that really keeps you guessing. Having twists right up to the end, which is the best thing about the whole movie. Most performance are pretty routine with nobody really standing out but saying that most of them have gone onto bigger and better things.

 

Some of the special effects are pretty average with the exception of the open sequences on the dance floor won’t put in what happened in case it ruins the surprise. Overall if you like a horror film that gives you twists through out this one is well worth a watch.

 

Story Mark 8/10 The twists save what is a pretty routine story.

 

Action Mark 7/10 Good sequences but nothing that really shines out as proper action.

 

Horror Mark 8/10 Good horror levels nothing that should scare too much but could get a few shocks.

 

Character Development Mark 6/10 The characters in the crew are hard to develop, as they don’t need to tell back-story to each other. The ghosts have the best back-story on what happened on the ship.

 

Friendship Chemistry Mark 9/10 The crew are very tight knit and it shows.

 

Special Effects Mark 8/10 Simple stuff after opening sequences.

 

Star Performances Guess you could say everyone no one really stands out.

 

Favourite Character Jack only character that has some mystery about himself.

 

Poor Performance Gabriel Byrne really shouldn’t be making these average horros with his past in great films like Usual Suspects.

 

Least Favourite Character Greer whiny character annoying through out.

 

Best Part open sequences and twist at the very end.

 

Worst Part  Lack of real scares.

 

Best Quote Epps (after Jack says he found a ship while flying over ocean) ‘Congratulations. You found a boat in the middle of the ocean of all places.’

 

Similar Too – Event Horizon, Lost Voyage.

 

My Rating 76%