Tulip Fever (2017)

Director: Justin Chadwick

Writer: Deborah Moggach, Tom Stoppard (Screenplay) Deborah Moggach (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Tom Hollander, Matthew Morrison, Christoph Waltz

 

Plot: An artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.


Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fails to Blossom

 

Story: Tulip Fever starts in 1631 where Amsterdam is obsessed with tulips, we follow Sophia (Vikander) raised in an orphanage to womanhood where the rich Cornelis Sandvoort (Waltz) marries her to make sure he has an heir of his own. The story is told through the memories of Maria (Grainger) the maid of the household.

Cornelis wants to be remember and having trouble with having children he wants to have a painting of the two, he commissions upcoming artist Jan van Loos (DeHaan) for the work. When Sophia and Jan engage in a steamy affair their love blossoms and with the rest of Amsterdam becoming using their tulip obsession we see how the rich just get carried away with their outrageous bidding for the prized bulbs.

 

Thoughts on Tulip Fever

 

Characters – Sophie was raised in an orphanage to womanhood where she gets the chance to leave and marry one of the rich men of Amsterdam. She tries to give him a child, but they are struggling and it isn’t long before her heart belongs to another, an artist. Jan van Loos is the talented young artist commissioned to paint the Sandvoort’s, he soon strikes up a romance with Sophia as they both look to escape this world. Cornelis is the man Sophia marries, he is a kind man, brilliant businessman in the middle of the tulip obsessed Amsterdam. The characters show us just how obsessed the tulips can become desperate to make money from a bulb.

PerformancesThe film has wonderful performances from the whole cast, Alicia Vikander once again shows she is one if not the most talented actresses in the business. Dane DeHaan showed us just why he works better in these roles over a Valerian styled movie. Christoph Waltz continues he entry into a world of artists, where he can play the roles in period dramas. Even diving into the supporting cast, we have talent a plenty, with Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger and Judi Dench showing just why people always consider them people to watch.

StoryThe story follows us into the world of Amsterdam where the people are obsessed with the tulips, the different colours, styles and patterns which could make a fortune. We have a secret romance which uses the tulip obsession to try and keep everything a secret, sadly by the end you will fee like we are watching two films which don’t quite add up to the levels you would like. The story about the tulips did grab my attention and I would have loved to have seen more focus on this, while the affair is something we have seen before and done better before.

RomanceThe romantic side of the film comes from the secret affair Sophie is having, while also showing us the love Maria and Willem have through the good and bad moments.

SettingsThe setting created takes us back to the 1600s Amsterdam, nothing feels out of place as we see the hustle and bustle of the busy drink filled streets.


Scene of the Movie –
Tulip discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romance side is something we have seen before.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that does struggle to balance the two stories and strangely enough, it is Maria’s story which seems like it should be the main story over the Sophia one. It does have powerful performance, but it doesn’t use their talents well enough.

 

Overall: Solid period drama, showing the tulip obsession.

Rating

 

 

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God’s Pocket (2014)

Director: John Slattery

Writer: Alex Metcalf, John Slattery (Screenplay) Peter Dexter (Novel)

Starring: Christina Hendricks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eddie Marsan, Caleb Landry Jones, Jack O’Connell, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins

 

Plot: A blue collar worker tries to cover things up when his stepson is killed in a suspicious accident, but a local reporter senses that something’s amiss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: God’s Pocket starts as we meet the different characters from this small town of God’s Pocket. We have Mickey (Hoffman) a meat salesman who works with Arthur (Turturro) stealing product before selling it as his own, his wife Jeanie (Hendricks) and her son Leon (Jones) along with reporter Richard Shellburn (Jenkins) who has been reporting on the town for 20 years.

When Leon is killed in a work accident the town surround the family with their sympathy. When Jeanie questions what happened it brings Richard to look deeper into the story as well as Mickey using his mob connection to try and learn the truth, but in this small town can secrets be kept?

 

Thoughts on God’s Pocket

 

Characters/PerformanceMickey is a man that finds a way to make ends meet either side of the law, when his step-son is killed he works on finding out the truth but must deal with his own problems with money. Jeanie is the grieving mother that demands the truth about her son’s death, she is also becoming distant from her husband Mickey. Richard is a journalist know all around the town, he has reported on the events of the town for years now and gets called into learn the truth of the events around the death. Arthur is Mickey’s connection to the underworld where the two work on robberies.

Performance wise, Hoffman is great in what was his final complete film, Hendricks is also good throughout the film with Jenkins giving us his best reporter like role. Turturro was also good throughout the film.

StoryThe story shows the three day events leading up to a funeral, we see everyday people dealing with a sudden death as they search for the truth, make their own mistakes and try to cover up their mistakes. This is a slow-moving film that tries to give us a real life series of events that follow the people involved but isn’t a casual watch.

CrimeThe crime side of the story comes from Mickey’s side along with the crime surround the accident. We have the crime world but otherwise this is more focused on the dramatic stories that characters live through.

SettingsWe like the small town setting which helps us see just how well the people of the town know each other.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama even if it is slightly slow in place, it is filled with good acting and a story that almost feels like it could come off as a comedy slightly better.

 

Overall: Good drama, good acting but nothing memorable.

Rating

 

 

’71 (2014)

71Director: Yann Demange

Writer: Gregory Burke (Screenplay)

Starring: Jack O’Connell, Sam Reid, Sean Harris, Sam Hazeldine, Killian Scott

 

Plot: In 1971, a young and disorientated British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the deadly streets of Belfast.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Behind Enemy Lines – Ireland

 

Story: 71 starts as we see Gary Hook (O’Connell) going through his training with his regiment before they get deployed to Belfast to deal with the riot situation. In Ireland the regiment receive their instructions and onto the Catholic side of the war. When the riots get out of hand Gary finds himself on the wrong side of the barrier alone and unarmed in the Irish territory.

With tensions rising Gary finds himself in the middle of the battle not knowing which side to trust as both side are preparing to attack each other as Gary learns the harsh reality of what these riots are causing.

71 puts us into the middle of the Irish riots showing just one soldier’s experience behind enemy lines, this works well. My issue with the story is unless you know the history which I only know the basics you are left kind of wondering why the riots are happening in the first place. Another problem I found was telling what was going on with the supporting characters like who was on whose side which I do understand adds to the mystery but in this situation we should be able to identify them easily. As a film about survival in an urban setting this is great though.

 

Actor Review

 

Jack O’Connell: Gary Hook is the young soldier who is on his first mission on the streets on Belfast during the riots of 71, trying to receive a lost weapon he gets separated by his unit and stranded alone behind enemy lines never sure who to trust. Jack is great in this leading role in what was an outstanding year for the young actor.gary

Sam Reid: Lt. Armitage is one of the men that wants to start searching for Gary but constantly gets put down Captain Browning. Sam is solid in this role but doesn’t get enough screen time.

Sean Harris: Captain Sandy Browning is the man running the situation he knows that Gary is alive but really is playing both sides of the battle. Sean is also solid but only in a supporting role.

Killian Scott: Quinn is one of the leaders out trying to kill Gary, he takes his men and boys out on the streets on the hunt for him and will hurt anyone who gets in his way. Killian is good in what seems like one of the primary villains.

Support Cast: 71 has a large supporting cast but working out which side they are on gets confusing at times.

Director Review: Yann DemangeYann gives us wonderfully shot sequences throughout but not enough back story to the events on the film.

 

Action: 71 has intensely shot action sequences involved.

Thriller: 71 keeps us on edge as we watch Gary trying to survive the warzone.

War: 71 puts us into a warzone as we see Gary trying to avoid conflict seemingly around every single corner.

Settings: 71 puts us in the warzone of the Belfast streets which really works to pull us into the story.
Special Effects
: 71 has great effects when needed without having to just go overboard with them.

Suggestion: 71 is one for fans of the genre but otherwise people might find it slightly hard to keep up with. (War Film Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Bomb shock.

Worst Part: Not enough history of the events.

 

Believability: The riots were real but story is fictional.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Behind Enemy Lines

 

Awards: Nominated for One BAFTA.

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Trivia: Most scenes within the film were shot in Northern England, not in the film’s setting of Belfast.

 

Overall: Good history war thriller that is intense but never fully drags you into believing everything.

Ratingcard

 

Money Monster (2016)

money monsterDirector: Jodie Foster

Writer: Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, Jamie Linden (Screenplay) Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf (Story)

Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito

 

Plot: Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazing Thriller

 

Story: Money Monster starts as we see Lee Gates (Clooney) preparing for his financial TV show as we see the director Patty Fenn (Roberts) trying to make everything go to plan. What looks like an everyday show takes a sinister turn when a delivery man Kyle Budwell (O’Connell) takes the show hostage.

Kyle is a victim of a stock call by Lee, keep the show live on air Kyle wants to expose the truth with Diane Lester (Balfe) who is second in command under the man responsible for Kyle’s target Walt Camby (West). Kyle wants answers and this could bring the stock market crashing down around the tycoon Walt.

Money Monster tackles the stock market ups and downs with the idea that it can drive the victims to the limits. We do get the great idea that we could have had way too much stock market talk which does stop us getting bored rather than just getting to the point. This is a thriller that starts in one location while we do learn the truth with everything going on in the background which all works too. I will say this is one of those stories that is easy to follow and will go in a direction you don’t always see it going.

 

Actor Review

 

George Clooney: Lee Gates is the charismatic TV host of a financial show that guides people on all the best and worst investments. Lee finds himself being held hostage having to keep Kyle calm as the truth get exposed live on his own show. George is great in this role showing his charming side along with his desperate to survive side.lee

Julia Roberts: Patty Fenn is the director of the Money Monster television show, she has to deal with Lee’s ego but is capable of keeping him in line. She also has to make the difficult decisions when it comes to deciding whether to keep the show on the air. Julia is great in this role being strong throughout.patty

Jack O’Connell: Kyle Budwell is the young man that takes the show hostage because he has been a victim of an altercation on the stock exchange, he wants answers after losing all of his money and this will give him that chance. Jack continues to show his rise starring in this role where he matches the A-listers with ease.kyle

Dominic West: Walt Camby is the owner of the stock that crashed, he can’t be reached for the hostage situation. All fingers point to his involvement but can he get exposed. Dominic is good in this role as the greedy business man.

Support Cast: Money Monster has a supporting cast that all give good performances with Caitriona Balfe be the star of them with Christopher Denham added comic relief.

Director Review: Jodie FosterJodie gives us a great directed thriller that builds up the tension from the first moment until the final scene.

 

Crime: Money Monster throws into a crime taking part where we watch how Kyle holds the show hostage to expose the real crime going on.

Thriller: Money Monster keeps up the tension from the moment Kyle walks onto the stage till the final scene.

Settings: Money Monster keeps most of the films real tension inside the studio while also walking down Wall Street.
Special Effects
: Money Monster doesn’t use many special effects and really doesn’t need them.

Suggestion: Money Monster is one I do think everyone will enjoy especially if you are a fan of tension. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Tension building.

Worst Part: Nope

 

Believability: No, but certain parts could be away from the hostage.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: I would like it to and I will say outside shot.

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: #FollowTheMoney

 

Overall: Brilliant Tension Filled Thriller

Ratingcard

 

 

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

logoDirector: Noam Murro

Writer: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad (Screenplay) Frank Miller (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro, Jack O’Connell

 

Plot: Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over the Top Sequel

 

Story: 300: Rise of an Empire starts by right where the previous one finished with Xerxes (Santoro) taking the head of Leonidas. Queen Gorgo (Headey) is leading the next onslaught on the Persians.

I think we go prequel with Themistokles (Stapleton) leading the Greek army back against the Persians before they can take any of the Greek cities. The battle leads to the death of King Darius (Naor) leads to Artemisia (Green) and Xerxes son of Darius go on the revenge mission with Xerxes entering into the world of the Gods becoming a God King.

Themistokles goes to Sparta to build a united Greece while Xerxes is waiting for word from the messenger sent. We learn of Artemisia is Greek by descent and is out for revenge on any Greek person she finds after they raped and murdered her whole family. Themistokles builds his navy army for a battle on the sea against the Persian fleet leading to epic battles on the ocean. What follows is a string of battles each one with the other trying to get the upper hand.

Suffering a defeat Themistokles uses his defeat and the Spartans defeat as fuel to unite Greece once and for all as they take the battle to a conclusion once and for all.

300: Rise of an Empire does play the idea of following another side of the battle really well, mixing between the prequel elements and sequel elements. The main problem is that the scenes of the battles come off very confusing which is the main reason for the story. It does show the new historical legends even though they are lesser known names. It really ends up feeling like a forced sequel that has come too late after the first one. I feel this focuses too much on its action sequences and the story falls into the background after a while. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Sullivan Stapleton: Themistokles Greek warrior who leads the navy fleet into battles on the sea against the Persians after he kills their King Darrius. Sullivan does give a good performance and looks the part. (7/10)

 themstokles

Eva Green: Artemisia leader of the Persian naval unit who also plays Xerxes to go into combat the way she wants to win the war. Eva gives a good performance and makes for a great villainous role. (7/10)

 green

Rodrigo Santoro: Xerxes God King of Persia who is at battle with the Spartans and the Greeks. Rodrigo gives a solid performance and has to get praised for the look he ends up having after the makeup. (7/10)

erxes

Support Cast: 300: Rise of an Empire has a huge support cast that are all warriors in either side of the battle.

 

Director Review: Noam Murro – Noam does a solid job directing making the action look very good but doesn’t pull the story through as much as he should be. (6/10)

 

Action: 300: Rise of an Empire can’t be denied about how good the action is even if the naval moments come off confusing at times. (8/10)

War: 300: Rise of an Empire really is one of the war films that really do end up putting the fantasy into legend. (7/10)

Settings: 300: Rise of an Empire creates settings that look the part for the time of the battles. (7/10)
Special Effects
: 300: Rise of an Empire has great effects at time but slowly start to feel over used. (7/10)

Suggestion: 300: Rise of an Empire is one to be watched if you enjoyed the first one but not the most interesting for the first time viewer. (Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Final battle looks good.

Worst Part: A Horse on a boat, really?

Action Scene Of The Film: Final Battle.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Left open for another sequel.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $337 Million

Budget: $110 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Seize your glory

Trivia: The original script featured King Leonidas from 300 (2006), but he was ultimately cut out. This was due to Gerard Butler, who turned down to reprise his role as Leonidas, since it “wasn’t really [his] thing”.

 

Overall:  Sequel we didn’t really need

Rating 54