Crime Thriller Weekend – Seven (1995)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Cassini

 

Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.


Tagline –  Earnest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I believe the second part.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Dark Crime Thrillers

 

Story: Seven starts as Detective Mills (Pitt) a cocky young detective joins seasoned veteran Detective Somerset (Freeman) who is on the verge of retirement to teach Mills the ropes in the new city. While the two don’t hit it off because of the clash of backgrounds Somerset doesn’t want anything to do with the latest murder but when Mills take over the case upon the second body, Somerset agrees to assist Mills in the cracking the case.

When the case turns into a hunt for a serial killer who is picking his victims to represent the seven deadly sins, the pair know there are going to have more victims but must race to stop this killer before the victim count gets too high.

 

Thoughts on Seven

 

Characters – Somerset is the veteran detective one week from retirement, who must take short tempered detective under his wing for the final week. Somerset has an old school style along with a gentle tone though the crimes. Mills is the short-tempered detective that moves into the new city and must learn the way of the police there, he is happy to break a few laws to get the correct answer when investigating a crime which goes against everything Somerset stands for. Tracy is the wife of Mills, who is also new to the town, she hasn’t found a job and is finding herself lonely with Mills on the job. John Doe is the man behind the crimes, he is calculated in his every move who is almost mocking the detectives with his actions.

PerformancesMorgan Freeman is excellent choice in the leading role because he sums up calm and gentle nature needed for the role, Brad Pitt steps up to the darker movie with ease because he gets to keep his cocky swagger for the role. Gwyneth Paltrow is good but doesn’t get the screen time we could have gotten from her character. Kevin Spacey is the secret star of this film because when he enters the story you are left to sit on the edge of your seat waiting to see what he does or says next.

StoryThe story is a serial killer building up the number of bodies while two unlikely detectives must put aside their differences to stop the killer. The dark tone going on through the story shows how the killer’s motives are perfectly placed out and it is the detectives are the ones that need to think quickly to stop the next step. If you like a crime story that involves solving the case this will give you one of the best, but the lack of suspects might put people off in places.

Crime/Mystery/ThrillerThe murders are graphic in how we see the effects of what has been done to the victim, the mystery comes from leaving us to wonder why the victims have been selected and we are left on the edge of our seats from the start to the finish of the film.

SettingsThe city is never made clear which shows how the crimes could happen in any town, city, country if the believer is willing to follow through with his beliefs.


Scene of the Movie –
Visiting the suspect.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hard to find one.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Box Office: $100 Million (USA)

Budget: $33 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest thrillers of all time, it is edge of your seat material from start until the end even on repeat viewings you will find yourself gripped.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Director: Jon Watts

Writer: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover

 

Plot: Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Easily the Best Spider-Man Movie

 

Story: Spider-Man: Homecoming starts as we learn how Adrian Toomes (Keaton) has be learning to develop the alien technology from the first Avengers battle in New York City, he has learnt how to make highly powerful weapons which he sales on the black market. Peter Parker (Holland) on the other hand must return to his quiet life in Queens after his work fighting Captain America for Tony Stark (Downey Jr), with Happy Hogan (Favreau) reluctantly looking over him.

Peter builds his weapons at school and turns into Spider-Man out of school to fight off small time criminals, when Peter stumbles upon Adrian’s men and weapons he tries to get help but no one would listen to him so he tries to stop him, himself, here is where Peter must learn the responsibility of being a superhero all while trying to get good grades at school.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming

 

Characters/PerformancePeter Parker is the geeky high school student who has shone through classes, getting heckling like bullying from Flash but is easily a background student. Outside of school he gets all of his excitement fighting crime waiting for the call to be part of the Avengers. Peter has one of the better superhero arcs in recent years he learns about responsibility, friendship and sacrifice to become the masked hero. Adrian Toomes is a man who knows how to make the most of a difficult situation, he takes his demolition/removal men and turns his enterprise into an arms dealership that produces the most high tech weapons on the streets from the alien technology. The best thing about this character is, that he is human, there is no superhero abilities he has just mastered the technology to be the threat, he wants money over destruction which is refreshing. Tony Stark is mostly used as the mentor and is there for all the important decisions Peter must make. Aunt May is younger than before but is mostly used as the concerned parental figure in Peter’s life. Happy is also in like a reluctant guardian role mostly on the other end of the phone. In the school we have Ned the best friend he always puts Peter’s foot in it, Michelle the quiet one that stays out the way, Liz the one Peter has a crush on and Flash the bully like character but it is mostly whittled down to heckling.

Performance wise, Tom Holland is excellent at Peter Parker, his enthusiasm shines through but we also get to see the range of emotions Peter goes through during the film, he does also make a great Spider-Man being original enough after the previous two actors turns at him. Michael Keaton makes a devilish villain and one you can enjoy watching because of the simple desire he has. Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau are good through the film giving us the comic timing we need at times but also the serious talks when needed. Jacob Batalon gets the most laughs, Zendaya, Laura Harrier and Tony Revolori also are great in the roles they play.

StoryThis is the third first solo chapter of Spider-Man, we have been introduced to this version in Civil War so, we can skip he got bitten and slowly learn he is mutating which is great. We know have a young superhero (15) that has been giving a glimpse of the battles he could be having, (See Civil War) but must return to a normal high school life. The best way to describe this feeling is traveling to a beautiful country only to need to return to a dead-end job. The story focuses on the growing up process, if you want this is a coming of age superhero film because Peter must learn his place in the world, not every day is going to be battle the save the world and most of all enjoy the youth he currently has. We have strong elements of a high school comedy coming through here and people will all say if John Hughes made a superhero movie, well this would be it.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is good with each battle increasing in size, starting with a small car chase before escalating up to the ferry scene which we saw in the trailer and beyond. The adventure comes from seeing how Peter tries to solve these crimes by himself learning about his enhanced suit. The sci-fi element of the film comes from the idea that Toomes has learnt from the alien technology left from the battles that destroyed the city.

SettingsThe settings are mostly New York but we do also end up in Washington because we need big landmarks for the battle or saving people scenes to take place in.

Special EffectsIt would be hard to fault a single side of the special effects being used in this film, that all make the action sequences look fantastic.

Final ThoughtsThis has been a brilliant year for comic book movies and we seem to have learnt the formula, give a small introduction in an ensemble film before stepping out giving us the solo film instead of origin this origin that. I would say this is know the best Spider-Man film I have seen and I would be happy to suggest people to watch and even watch again myself.

 

Overall: Marvel throws us the best teen comedy superhero movie to date.

Rating

 

 

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

shakeDirector: John Madden

Writer: Marc Norman, Tom Stoppard (Screenplay)

Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck

 

Plot: A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Oscar Heavy Classic

 

Story: Shakespeare in Love starts as Philip Henslowe (Rush) has been struggling to pay his debts to Hugh Fennyman (Wilkinson) and with his star scripter William Shakespeare (Fiennes) working on the latest play for the theatre which can clean his debts.

Shakespeare looking for his latest muse sees just how Queen Elizabeth (Dench) sees his work where we get to meet Viola De Lesseps (Paltrow) a wealthy daughter of London who dreams of being in a Shakespeare play. When William meets Viola the motivation behind Romeo and Juliet is born and with Viola is undercover as the lead actor of the play but is also being forced into marrying Lord Wessex (Firth) by Queen’s order. With the love between William and Viola being kept a secret one of the most iconic plays in history becomes the reality in the famous Rose theatre.

 

Thoughts on Shakespeare in Love

 

StoryThe story here plays along the lines of seeing how love can inspire the best work from playwrights as we see the struggling Shakespeare re-discover his best work once he falls in love once again. The parallels to what is going on with the play and everyday situation all comes together very well as we see how the final pieces of the puzzle comes together. This does have a full stage feel to everything going on which could easily be a turn off for some people though.

Comedy/Drama/RomanceWe have good theatre based comedy without being a joke a minute throughout this film, the film really does focus on the romantic angle between William, Viola and the problems she must face with arranged marriage to Lord Wessex.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all loosely based on real people that also become the characters within the Romeo and Juliet story that we have all come to know. The performances are all brilliant here showing us that if we want a stage play movie we can turn to these actors for first choice.

SettingsEach setting fits the time period perfectly as we would all be willing to believe we are in the middle of 1593 watching the creation Romeo and Juliet.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that not everyone will but is easily one of the most fascinating ones around as we learn the creation of one of the greatest plays ever written.

 

Overall: Classic in its own right.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Talent Mr Ripley (1999)

talentedDirector: Anthony Minghella

Writer: Anthony Minghella (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport, James Rebhorn. Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: The Talented Mr Ripley starts as we meet Tom Ripley (Damon) living in New York who has been teaching himself music while getting by without people noticing him. When he meets million Herbert Greenleaf (Rebhorn) he sees potential in Tom and sends him to Italy to bring his playboy son Dickie (Law) back home.

Arriving in Italy Tom introduces himself to locals as Dickie before putting himself into Dickie’s and Marge Sherwood’s (Paltrow) life as he befriends him explaining how he got asked to travel to Italy to bring Dickie home.

The three enjoy a holiday through Italy as Tom studies Dickie he strengths, weakness and tendencies. After falling out of favour with Dickie, Tom kills him and decides to cover it up with Marge while becoming Dickie to the rest of the world but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on The Talented Mr Ripley

 

StoryThe con-artist film focuses on how one man who has been using his skills to keep his appearance up. The film is slow moving with a well over 2 hour run time but this just helps with the development of the story. Everything plays out that the rich have too much money for their own good making sure they stay above anybody else while Tom goes out his way to become one of them. The story is told brilliantly as we come to understand Ripley’s decision making process through the film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime going on is always being covered up by Ripley as we are being kept on edge waiting to see what will happen next throughout the film. We get kept on edge as the suspense works almost perfectly through the film.

Characters/PerformanceMatt Damon shines in this leading role as Mr Ripley becomes one of the most fascinating characters from the 90s. Paltrow and Law give brilliant performances in supporting roles while the ever-impressive cast of Blanchett, Hoffman, Rebhorn and Davenport all give excellent performance too.

SettingsItaly makes for a stunning backdrop for the film as we see the lifestyle Tom could only have dreamed of living but soon starts taking part in.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fascinating films of the 90’s which is full of powerhouse performance from one of the most impressive cast in film.

 

Overall: Truly interesting film that grabs your attention from start to finish.

Ratingcard

 

 

Mortdecai (2015)

logoDirector: David Koepp

Writer: Eric Aronson (Screenplay) Kyril Bonfiglioli (Novel)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Munn, Jonny Pasvolsky, Michal Culkin, Ulrich Thomsen

 

Plot: Juggling angry Russians, the British Mi5, and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai races to recover a stolen painting rumoured to contain a code that leads to lost Nazi gold.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Boring

 

Story: Mortdecai starts by introducing himself and explaining how he is searching for something that will make him complete. Mortdecai (Depp) is an international antiques dealer who is no broke and after a deal goes wrong his muscle Jock (Bettany) has to help him escape. Mortdecai like most rich men who think they can have everything but he is being controlled by his wife Johanna (Paltrow). Mortdecai will have to continue to sell his possessions to help raise the money he need.

After an art restorer is murdered the work she is working on is also stolen leading to Inspector Martland (McGregor) leading the investigation which means seeing Mortdecai to learn about any deals in the works. Mortdecai agrees to help but only to keep the file about his closed. We watch how Mortdecai investigates who could have taken the painting while other interested parties also look into finding out who has it.

Mortdecai tries to enter into the world of a heist film and uses all the generic trademarks of one too. The problem is that it tries to be a comedy heist and simply put there are no laughs leaving everything coming off very hard to watch. The on running moustache jokes gets boring very quickly but they keep returning to it every five minutes and when you have to resort to vomit gags you know you ran out of ideas. This ends up being one of the most boring films I have seen in years and with such star power you would expect a lot more. (1/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Johnny Depp: Mortdecai an eccentric millionaire who gets caught up in trying to find out who took a famous piece of art. His adventures are weird and wild as he doesn’t have a true understand of the world outside his rich circles. Johnny really needs to stop trying to play weird characters because it just doesn’t work anymore. (2/10)

 depp

Gwyneth Paltrow: Johanna wife of Mortdecai who has to try and sale work to regain the family fortune while dealing with a potential love interests from long term friend Martland. Gwyneth did look the part for this role but can’t pull off the comedy. (4/10)

 

Paul Bettany: Jock the muscle and man slave of Mortdecai who solves all the problems he finds himself in. Paul is the only one that gets any sort of laugh with his womanising ways but such a waste of talent in this role. (5/10)

 

Ewan McGregor: Martland MI5 agent who is looking for the missing art work along with Mortdecai. Ewan doesn’t make the impact his character should and ends up being a boring cop. (3/10)

 

Support Cast: Mortdecai is filled with different parties who want to art or Mordecai himself they all come off very generic and offer nothing new.

 

Director Review: David Koepp – David gives us one of the worst films of the year already. (2/10)

 

Comedy: Mortdecai doesn’t have any quality laughs. (0/10)

Settings: Mortdecai uses well known settings to tell us which country the events are happening in. (5/10)

Suggestion: Mortdecai just avoid like the plague, even diehard Depp fans will think this is terrible. (Avoid It)

 

Best Part: Not one.

Worst Part: Depp performance.

Improve Ideas: Make it funny.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Please God No.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Unlikely

Box Office: $10 Million first weekend.

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Sophistication has a name

 

Overall: I have seen a few stinkers in my time but this actually makes Ocean’s 12 look like it should have won best picture.

Rating 5