Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writer: Kimberly Peirce, Andy Bienen (Screenplay)

Starring: Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, Alicia Goranson, Alison Folland

 

Plot: Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.


Tagline – A true story about finding the courage to be yourself.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Shockingly Powerful Drama

 

Story: Boys Don’t Cry starts with Teena (Swank) a young woman that wants to become a man, she uses the name Brandon to go around small American towns looking to pick up women, which has got her in trouble in the past.

On his latest trip she finds a new group of people, with Lana (Sevigny) taking her eye, with her friends and family including John (Sarsgaard), Tom (Sexton III), Candace (Goranson) all welcoming her into the group as Brandon, when her true identity is revealed there will be shocking consequence.

 

Thoughts on Boys Don’t Cry

 

Characters – Teena is a young woman that is preparing for her sex change, before that she is going around as a young man Brandon, trying to meet women. She meets a young lady in Lana, makes new friends, but she is on the run which will soon catch up with her. This is a based on a real person that is going through the difficult process of wanting to have a sex change. Lana is the young lady that Brandon takes a shine to, she lives the dead end life that she isn’t enjoying and Brandon brings a new feeling about it, though she is left in a difficult position when the truth comes out. John and Tom are two of the group of friends that happily welcome Brandon into their group, when they learn the truth, they will go to extreme measures to get revenge.

PerformancesHilary Swank went on to win an Oscar for her role in the film, you can see why because she is fantastic in the difficult role. Chloe Sevigny shows us jus how her supporting role she can make a huge impact in the film. Peter Sarsgaard and Brendon Sexton III both are disturbing in their roles in the film which shows just how they could make to truly disgusting human beings come to life.

StoryThe story here follows a young lady preparing for a sex change, that would go around looking for women, only for her secret to come back when the prejudice locals can’t deal with people somebody they can’t explain in their lives. This is a film way before it own time, even though it is only 20 years old, it is based on the real crime which would easily have been given a bigger spotlight in todays world. we do step into the world of transgenders, which is always difficult to word correctly because it is a sensitive subject. What occurs in the film is surprising and shocking that you couldn’t see happening.

Biopic/Crime/RomanceThe film uses the biopic side of the film to show the romance and crime against Brandon Teena a young transgender that is still wanting to figure out how to get through the sex change.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the locations which shows how the smaller towns can operate and have mindsets that don’t accept people that are different.


Scene of the Movie –
The first night together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The actions of the men.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most difficult movies you will see, it has a sensitive subject on the table which will show the way people can act towards people.

 

Overall: Must watch movie.

Rating

 

 

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You’re Not You (2014)

Director: George C Wolfe

Writer: Shana Feste, Jordan Roberts (Screenplay) Michelle Wildgen (Book)

Starring: Hilary Swank, Emmy Rossum, Josh Duhamel, Stephanie Beatriz, Jason Ritter, Julian McMahon, Ali Larter, Andrea Savage

 

Plot: A drama centered on a classical pianist who has been diagnosed with ALS and the brash college student who becomes her caregiver.


Tagline – Let go of who you were, and discover who you’re meant to be.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful Drama

 

Story: You’re Not You starts on Kate’s (Swank) 35th birthday, a classic pianist that notice something isn’t right with her body, 18 months later Kate is in need of care, even with her husband Evan (Duhamel) needing to work, while finding a new carer to help with ALS care.

That new carer is college student Bec (Rossum) who parties every night and doesn’t come with an off switch. Bec is the only person Kate want to care for her as she is the only one that treats her like a person not a patient and after Kate learns Evan has been having an affair, it leaves Kate and Bec together to handle the caring and living the remaining time with the disease.

 

Thoughts on You’re Not You

 

Characters – Kate was a successful pianist, happily married and wonderful party host, she soon starts to get the first symptoms of ALS which comes on strong, she now needs constant caring, but is tired of the nurses that treat her like a patient, she chooses Bec who offers her friendship, while also offering Bec life advice in a time where she could be going with no direction. Bec is a directionless brash college student who gets given a chance to care of Kate, she becomes the biggest challenge of her life, teaching her responsibility and helping guide her in the right direction. Evan is the husband of Kate, he has tried to care for her the best he can, but can’t give up his job which has put a distance between the two, causing him to have had an affair.

PerformancesHilary Swank has two Oscars to her name, this performance here shows the talent she has once again, she is fantastic as the victim of the ALS disease. Emmy Rossum has made a name for herself on television, but here you feel she should have broken out because her performance is great to. Josh Duhamel is good as the character we want to hate through the film.

StoryThe story throws the spotlight on ALS, we follow one person suffering from the disease who knows the sacrifices people will have to make to care for her, we see how people who are sick do want to be treated like people rather than just patients and giving them, this treatment will make their remaining time worthwhile. We do have a story about how the older (but not old) woman helps give the lost student a direction for her life. This is a story about the battle against a disease which is taking people everyday, how the people around them need there for them to make the remain time in their lives positive.

SettingsThe settings in this film show the different lives both Kate and Bec have come from, how they are joined together in the same battle to support each other. I feel the settings help us understand the disease making made by the characters in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Enjoying a drink or two together.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The only thing I feel we would have liked more of would be the medical side of what could have been done to try and help as we have plenty of talks about experimental treatments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very good drama, we get to see how one person’s suffering could impact many people and how helpless they will feel while fighting it.

 

Overall: Powerful, heart-breaking and inspiring.

Rating

 

 

Daniel Craig Weekend – Logan Lucky (2017)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Rebecca Blunt (Screenplay)

Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank

 

Plot: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.


Tagline – See How The Other Half Steals

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough

 

Story: Logan Lucky starts as we follow Jimmy Logan (Tatum) as he loses his job and lets down his daughter, leaving his sister Mellie (Keough) getting him out of trouble, he loses his job and finds his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Holmes) is moving to the next state. Jimmy’s brother is a one-armed bar tender Clyde (Driver) after his service in Iraq, the three siblings work on a big plan in the life of crime.

Jimmy’s plan is to first break Joe Bang (Craig) out of prison to help rob the Nascar event in North Carolina, after Jimmy has learnt how the money is transferred, will this plan go through as expected?

 

Thoughts on Logan Lucky

 

Characters – Jimmy Logan has been a down on his luck when it comes to jobs, being a responsible father leving him to reach the end of his hope. Jimmy has a plan to rob the Nascar race track on race day after learning how the money is trasnffered, now he puts together his team. His is a good man just wanting the best for his family. Clyde is the brother of Jimmy, he has lost a hand in Iraq and joins his brother in the plan. Joe Bang is the best safe cracker in the south, but he is behind bars, he will work on the team with his own rules which means breaking him out and giving him explosives. Mellie is the sister of the family, she uses her looks to get out of trouble and likes to show off her knowledge of cars.

PerformancesChanning Tatum in the leading role works, he continues to show he can step away from the sex symbol he has created around himself to play the less desirable roles. Adam Drive also shows us another string to his talents in this dead pan comedy roles. Riley Keough is strong too through the film here she plays the typical redneck woman. Daniel Craig gives the best performance in the film, he gets the most laughs with his mad character that he doesn’t go over the top.

StoryThe story is a heist movie from the lower class of America, we have the characters that have fallen on hard times over the usual experienced heist going team. The story works for a heist film and follows the books as you would imagine without being anything overly original and feeling long in places. We have the scene which reveals the heist to finishes off the moments of the story we might not have picked up on earlier.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy feels dead pan for the most part and does keep the tone of the crime side of the story feeling light, which works for the style the film is going for.

SettingsThe settings work because it shows where the characters are from and how difficult their lives are.


Scene of the Movie –
Science time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels long.

Final ThoughtsSimple by the book heist film, it has moments of comedy but it ends up being nothing overly original but easily watchable.

 

Overall: Easy to watch and fun.

Rating

 

 

 

The Homesman (2014)

Director: Tommy Lee Jones

Writer: Tommy Lee Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald, Wesley A Oliver (Screenplay) Glendon Swartout (Novel)

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Jo Harvey Allen

 

Plot: Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy, who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs to assist her.


Tagline – The untold story of The West.

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nicely Paced Drama

 

Story: The Homesman starts as independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank) steps up where the men of her town wouldn’t and accepts taking three women Arabella (Gummer), Theoline (Otto) and Gro (Richter) across the west back to their homes after their husbands claim them to be crazy.

Mary is join by a lowlife drifter George Briggs (Jones) whose life she saves, with this being payment for saving the life. The journey is going to be filled with perils as we slowly learn what caused these women to act the way they did.

 

Thoughts on The Homesman

 

Characters – Mary Bee Cuddy lives a single life due to her independence she has created, she is branded bossy and is willing to step up, where the men wouldn’t. She agrees to take the three women across the river to return them home where they could get the help they need. This is a journey she is proud to take but isn’t the fully prepared for what she will face, relying on God to guide her. George Briggs is a lowlife drifter who has been left to hang for his crimes, Mary saves him and he becomes the guide through the troubles on the journey. The three women that are being transported have their own reasons for being branded crazy, mostly due to the abuse they have suffered.

PerformancesThe performances in this movie are carried by two powerhouses, Hilary Swank shines in the leading role, something we have seen from her for years now. Tommy Lee Jones takes double duty here, the acting he gives us is just what you expect while his work behind the camera shows that he can do both the roles. The three actresses playing the ill women are good showing their own strain from what has happened to their characters.

StoryThe story follows the journey across America to return three women that have struggled to adapt to new life in the growing America, one woman will risk it all to guide the women home with an unlikely partner on the journey sees him needing overcome the conditions and enemies to make it. We do have a faith-based character driving forward and we look at mental illness before it was considered a known issue in the western land. This does feel like a safe story to be telling, while being just an important.

WesternThe western land has always look beautiful, it has always had character that must look out for themselves, this is no different with how everything unfolds without needing to resort to gun fire.

SettingsTh settings look beautiful, the open plains, the different weather conditions will make this one of the best looking movies of the year.


Scene of the Movie –
Hotel problems.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is slower than you will be expecting.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful drama that has a wonderful story to watch unfold, powerful performances throughout and stunning scenery.

 

Overall: Western fans to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Director: Fran Rubel Kuzui

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens, Rutger Hauer, Luke Perry, Michele Abrams, Hilary Swank

 

Plot: A flighty teenage girl learns that she is her generation’s destined battler of vampires.


Tagline – Sometimes it takes more than just good looks to kill.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, But Not as Good as the TV Show

 

Story: Buffy the Vampire Slayer starts as we meet high school cheerleader Buffy (Swanson), one of the popular girls in school preparing for the latest dance. Buffy’s life is going to take a turn when the mysterious Merrick (Sutherland) enters her life, with the tales of vampires and her being the chosen one to fight them and protect her town.

Buffy now goes through the training process, so she can defeat her first deadlier enemy, Lothos (Hauer) a vampire that is haunting her dreams with the history of the previous slayers and make it to the dance on time.

 

Thoughts on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 

Characters – Buffy is the high school cheerleader who is more worried the latest school dance to notice her own destiny. She learns she is the slayer that is meant to fight vampires and her town is now in danger. Merrick is the watcher, the man that must teach Buffy how to defeat the vampires and becoming the slayer warrior she is destiny to be. Lothos is the big bad vampire that is waiting to take control of the town that Buffy is part of, we see how he has been planning this attack for a while with his vampires in the shadows.

PerformancesKristy Swanson is good in this leading role, we might not the role of Buffy as Sarah Michelle Gellar, but Kristy was here first and built the unlikely hero very well. Sutherland is good pick for the watcher because it is the answers for wise old man. Going into the supporting cast, none of these performers make an impact on the way they could which only disappoints when we know how these characters are going to be known in the TV series.

StoryThe story is difficult to talk about, because I grew up watching the show and for me, I was used to a different Buffy, an outsider, seeing the popular girl become the slayer just seems strange, but for a teenage action fantasy comedy works as we see one girl find her place in the world. This is an enjoyable watch and plays out just how you would imagine without being as interesting as it should be, because we want the world to be so much bigger.

Action/Fantasy/HorrorWe have action sequences which see Buffy face increasing numbers or difficulties in her battles, in a world that is filled with vampires which plays for the fantasy and the horror side of the film.

SettingsThe film takes place in the small town with a high school, this works for the movie because it shows us what Buffy will need to protect.

Special EffectsThe effects were good for the time of release, while moments have dated, we don’t get the need for the effects for the most part.


Scene of the Movie –
The Dance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its not the Buffy I am used to seeing.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like the 90’s movie it is, it gave us the film that went onto become a wonderful TV series, which is something that people will forever be grateful for.

 

Overall: Simple action fantasy.

Rating