Evan Rachel Wood Weekend – The Ides of March (2011)

Director: George Clooney

Writer: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon (Screenplay) Beau Willimon (Play)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright

 

Plot: An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.


Tagline – Ambition seduces. Power corrupts.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: All-Star Political Thriller

 

Story: The Ides of March starts as we follow Stephen Meters (Gosling) leading the campaign for presidential candidate Governor Mike Morris (Clooney) under Paul Zara (Hoffman), they are going against Tom Duffy (Giamatti) who is running the campaign for Senator Pullman (Mantell). We are heading into the final week of the campaign as things start to heat up.

When Stephen learns the dirty side to politics, he is caught up in the middle of doing the right thing and getting the win for his candidate, learning that this game is just as dangerous when it gets turned against him.

 

Thoughts on The Ides of March

 

Characters – Stephen Meyers is the ambitious campaign manager who is wildly considered one of the best in the business with his ability to handle the media and remain calm through any situation. His life is turned upside when he becomes a pawn in the dirty tactics involved in an election race and he will need to roll his sleeves up to fight back. Governor Mike Morris is the man Stephen is working for, he is the underdog in the race and seems like the perfect candidate, only he has secrets which could ruin his campaign. Paul is Stephen’s boss, the man who took a chance on Stephen, he values loyalty over anything else and doesn’t always trust the people around him. Tom Duffy is the campaign manager on the opposite side, he does like the ideas Stephen is playing and wants him on his team, he is the first one to play him into his own game. Molly is the intern on the staff that could bring down the whole campaign with her secret. Ida is a journalist that will do anything for a story which will get her on the front page.

PerformancesIn the performances we have a list of all-star actors that show us just how an ensembled cast can make a movie so enjoyable. We have Ryan Gosling taking centre stage, George Clooney playing a role her is perfect for and Hoffman and Giamatti that are just acting masters with these roles showing just how talented they are.

StoryThe story here follows a younger political man o the verge of his biggest campaign victory, when he gets shown the darker side of politics. Now this is an interesting story as we see how the innocent man must get dirty to survive the game and how the seasoned veterans of the game know every trick that will come their way. The mix of this keeps us on the edge of our seat through the film, the weakness in the film comes from the non-Americans struggle to keep up with who is one which Republican or Democratic side of the discussion and what level this is for the presidential candidate races. Unless you know the American political system you might fall short knowing everything going on here.

ThrillerThis film does keep us on edge through the events of the campaign, this is what we want and the twists in the darker side of the political system become clear by the end.

SettingsThe film throws us into every potential political arena you can think of, we get plenty of discussions some in secret others in an open forum to just what goes on behind the scenes of a campaign race.

 

Scene of the Movie – This will be my campaign.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand the American political system.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good political thriller that will keep you guessing from start to finish, it has a brilliant cast that all shine too.

 

Overall: Keeps you guessing from start to finish.

Rating

 

 

Evan Rachel Wood Weekend – Into the Forest (2015)

Director: Patricia Rozema

Writer: Patricia Rozema (Screenplay) Jean Hegland (Novel)

Starring: Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella, Callum Keith Rennie, Michael Eklund

 

Plot: After a massive power outage, two sisters learn to survive on their own in their isolated woodland home.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Thriller

 

Story: Into the Forest starts as Robert (Rennie) and his daughters Nell (Page) and Eva (Wood) live in a remote house where humans rely on technology, but when the technology goes out the people struggle to cope. When Robert sees the ways the world has started to go he decides to keep the girls safe in the house until the power outage is over, but when he is killed in an accident, the girls must fend for themselves.

The girls learn how to fend for themselves as they are left to wonder where to go next with Nell’s boyfriend Eli (Minghella) offer a chance to go to Boston, but when the girls decide to stay they do learn the dark side of humanity while trying to survive.

 

Thoughts on Into the Forest

 

Characters/PerformanceNell is the elder sister that doesn’t want to stay waiting for everything to blow over but must take responsibility once her father dies, she fills the big sister role needing to keep everything together even when she has a chance to leave. Eva is the younger sister and once promising dancer, she wants to continue her dancing even without the power but must learn to be more responsible. The male characters all offer different visions on the good and bad in life when a power outage would happen.

Performance wise, I feel one of the big problem here is that Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood are nearly ten years older than the characters they are playing, this does make it harder to see the teenage nativity needed in the role but sadly this takes away the strength in the performance needed.

StoryThe story does focus on what could happen if the world stopped have power, this could also help show us how the world could fall apart and not cope like it once did. This also doesn’t just give us the undead being a threat which is important as it is mostly about the struggle of what is meant to be two teenage girls through this sudden change. I think the story is refreshing even if it is slightly slow.

Sci-Fi/ThrillerThe power is go and now the end of the world that creates us the sci-fi side of the story well, we also deal with wondering just what will be thrown at the girls next for the thrilling side of things.

SettingsThe film is set mostly in and around the home in the forest which gives us the isolation needed for a potential end of the world type of problems the girls must work through.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good watch even if it is slightly slow in places, we do struggle to get the most out of the deeper side of things but we are kept interested in where things could go next.

 

Overall: Slow but strong thriller.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – N – The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013)

Director: Fredrik Bond

Writer: Matt Drake (Screenplay)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley

 

Plot: While traveling abroad, a guy falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in her violent, charismatic ex.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard Story

 

Story: The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman starts as Charlie (LaBeouf) deals with his mother’s death which pushes him to take a trip to Romania, an idea that the ghost of his mother suggests. On route the Romanian passenger Victor (Caramitru) dies giving Charlie a reason to find his daughter Gabi (Wood).

Charlie meets to Brits Karl (Grint) and Luc (Buckley) who show him how to party in the hostel but the danger comes from Gabi’s estranged husband Nigel (Mikkelsen) a dangerous man in the city. Charlie finds himself in the middle of the cover up that puts his own life in danger.

 

Thoughts on The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

 

Characters/PerformanceCharlie is a young man who travels to escape the grieving of his mother’s death, he wants to do the right thing but enjoys partying to, it would be fair to say his true motivations and character are never fully shown though. Gabi is the local Romanian girl that catches Charlie’s eye, she is also grieving the death of a parent but her life is a lot more complicated than he can imagine. Nigel is the ex-husband of Gabi that isn’t going to let her go without a fight which brings us to see how dangerous this man could be.

Performance wise, Shia is good in this role, I know people can slam the guy but this works for him. Evan Rachel Wood is also good throughout the film without trying to steal the movie while Mads Mikkelsen is always great in this type of role.

StoryThis story focuses on the one man looking for a moment to get away from his life to grieve, this is all good we have seen this before because it shows how this solo character finds themselves getting into trouble. The idea is basically ABC and it is simple enough to follow.

Comedy/RomanceThe film doesn’t feel too much like of a comedy and the romance side is basically just guy meets girl in new city but girl has background that makes things difficult for them to be together.

SettingsThe setting is good because not many film are set in Romania.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most average films you will see, there are better and worse that cover the same genre.

 

Overall: Not that impressive.

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

Strange Magic (2015)

Director: Gary Rydstrom

Writer: David Berenbaum, Irene Mecchi, Gary Rydstrom (Screenplay) George Lucas (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Meredith Anne Bull, Sam Palladio, Kristin Chenoweth

 

Plot: Goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Kids Will Enjoy

 

Story: Strange Magic starts as we see the difference between the Fairy Kingdom and the Dark Forest, the two kingdoms are side by side but both live different lives. When one of the fairies, Marianne accidently steps into the dark forest, angering the Bog King.

Marianne is about to marry the handsome fairy Roland but learns of his true nature, finding herself crushed. Swearing off love, Marianne sets out to protect her sister Dawn and friend Sunny from danger and the dark forest.

When Roland wants to become king, he must find a way to make Marianne take him back which leads him to trick Sunny into going into the dark forest to find a love potion so they can both get the one they want by finding the Sugar Plum Fairy.

This brings the Bog King into the Fairy Kingdom to retrieve the love potion giving the fairies one day to retrieve the potion or he will keep Dawn prisoner forever, with Marianne going out to rescue her.

 

Thoughts on Strange Magic

 

Characters Marianne is the typical strong female character who doesn’t want to follow the traditional trends and be extra independent, she fights for family while hating love. Bog King rules the darkness, hating the world because of his failures in love, he is a strict ruler but also sums up what it is like to have loved and lost becoming bitter to the world. Sunny the comic relief and we see him give us the most laughs as he tries to find a way to show his love for Dawn. Dawn is the annoying princess who is very shallow. Roland is the arrogant wanna be king who is completely annoying throughout.

StoryThe story is the old forbidden love story about two different sides of the fence falling in love against the wishes of everyone. We touch on the elements of trying to force someone to fall in love with you and the consequences it will have on them. It focuses a lot of the people’s individual mistakes when it comes to love.

Adventure/Comedy/Family/FantasyWe have a big adventure into the world forbidden, with elements of comedy going on throughout. We also have the fantasy elements of the film which is one the whole family could enjoy with catchy songs throughout.

SettingsThe creation of the worlds looks fantastic seeing how both sides live giving us a beautiful selection of settings.

AnimationThe animation does work well bring it into a different style to the normal, that all looks great.

Final ThoughtsThis does have a very big judgmental statement being made about treating people equally but this doesn’t over shadow the fun music side of the film.

 

Overall: This has a poor rating overall but this is enjoyable.

Rating