Gemma Arterton Weekend – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Director: Mike Newell

Writer: Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard (Screenplay) Jordan Mechner (Video Game)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint, Toby Kebbell

 

Plot: A young fugitive Prince and Princess must stop a villain who unknowingly threatens to destroy the world with a special dagger that enables the magic sand inside to reverse time.


Tagline – Defy the Future

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Adventure

 

Story: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time starts in the land of Persia, ruler Nizam (Kingsley) and brother to the king Sharaman (Pickup) leads his armies in battle with his generals and rebellious prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) still keeping his streetwise behaviour in him. The latest show of strength sees Dastan lead an attack on Princess Tamina (Arterton) city bringing the two cities together.

When Dastan gets framed for the King’s death, he goes on the with Tamina only to learn about a dagger that can control time, that his brother really wanted from the siege, Dastan must prove his innocence and return home while unlocking his own destiny.

 

Thoughts on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

 

Characters – Dastan was born on the streets, but raised in the place after impressing the king, he still remains close to the people on the streets which leaves him unable to follow orders. He leads an assault on a new kingdom only to find himself a pawn in a game of power for control of Persia and must learn his true destiny and save the kingdom. Tamina is the princess of a new land that the Persian’s claim, she is forced to marry one, but knows the secrets behind the dagger and the power it gives. She is willing to help get the dagger to safety and away from those who will use the power for their own greed. Nizam is the brother to the king, Uncle to Dastan, he has always lived in the shadow of his brother and no matter who takes over, he will not be king. Sheik Amar is a man that Dastan keeps running into on his travels, a man that is driven by gold which he sees with the bounty on Dastan’s head.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is good when it comes to the action and physical side of the film, though his accent does bounce around at times. Gemma Arterton has the look of a princess, though the accent involved is questionable, for the location she is meant to be from. Ben Kingsley is an easy choice for a villainous character, which is fine he doesn’t get truly challenge in his role, while Alfred Molina adds comedy it can lighten up the movie enough.

StoryThe story is adapted from the video games series, which had a smart idea of a dagger that could control time and the battle for power of the dagger. The film does follow those lines well showing us that not everything is going to be easy for our hero and he simply won’t know who to trust when it comes to gaining power for good or evil. It does follow a trend which was going on at the time with the unlikely couple from different worlds that are slowly falling in love as they look to save the day, with unlikely friendship and enemies made along the way. The idea of a weapon which could possesses the ability to change time is interesting addition to the normal adventure movie too.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action in the film is good and entertaining, it includes the fights and battles which will show the number of people fighting for each side. The adventure side of the film shows us how far Dastan must travel to make his position right in the kingdom, going through location which would be considered dangerous on other days. The weapons power adds in the fantasy element which sees us reverse time when suited.

SettingsThe film does use the generic temple style cities and royal locations as well as the open deserts to show us where out character is going on their adventure.

Special EffectsThe effects are a mixed bag, when we see the time rewind, we do get a unique look which is good, the weakness come from certain larger scale moments.


Scene of the Movie –
The rewind of time scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The giant CGI moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun video game adventure movie, it has an idea which can become just like we could imagine a video game playing out which is what we would like at times.

 

Overall: Enjoyable adventure film.

Rating

 

 

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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Director: Dan Gilroy

Writer: Dan Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Billy Magnussen, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, Natalia Dyer, Rene Russo, Daveed Diggs, Zawa Ashton

 

Plot: After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: First Great Horror of 2019

 

Story: Velvet Buzzsaw starts by taking us into the art world with critic Morf Vandewalt (Gyllenhaal) being the man that can make or break an artist career, Rhodora Haze (Russo) runs the gallery with aspiring artists Josephina (Ashton), Coco (Dyer) and Bryson (Magnussen) working for her.

When one of Josephina’s neighbours dies suddenly, she learns of the number of breath-taking pieces of art, that soon gets the art world going into a frenzy, with Gretchen (Collette) the newly appointed consulate for the rich wanting to get the some of the work. This is only the beginning as the art work seems to have a supernatural force behind it that wants to consume the greed in the art world.

 

Thoughts on Velvet Buzzsaw

 

Characters – Morf Vandewalt is the biggest and most well-respect art critic in the business, he can make or break a career, which has given him enemies along the way. His friendship with Rhodora helps her collect and profit from the most amounts of work, he sees the brilliance in the new artwork, though he questions certain background towards them. Rhodora is the one of the most popular art curators, her gallery gives young artists a chance, while she knows which clients to accept or not, she wants this new work and makes a deal to make sure she makes the most money she can out of them. Josephina is the aspiring curator, she is learning of Rhodora and she is the one that finds the artwork, this gives her all the leverage required to finally make her name in the industry. Gretchen works in a gallery until she gets a job acquiring work for her clients, this shows us just how one person can go from small time to big time, while changing along the way. Jon Dondon is another curator, one that has become a rival to Rhodora, he clearly doesn’t understand the art world on the same level as her though, only requiring money to keep him happy. Piers is the famous artist that has been struggling with his latest work after giving up his addiction, he sees the brilliance, but is also scared of the work of the new artist.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is just as fantastic as we would expect, he plays the over the top figure that strangely feels grounded too. Rene Russo shines as the cut throat art curator that will put anybody who crosses her in their place. Toni Collette turns out an almost opposite performance to Hereditary, which see her become an ambitious lady that knows how to deal. It is Zawa Ashton that becomes a more influential performer in this film than you would expect, which surprises with the cast we have, she is equally as strong as the rest of the cast too.

StoryThe story takes us into the art world, we have the pivotal characters to make us complete accept being part of this world, as a new unknown artist gets discovered, only his work has a much more sinister side to it. The scale of the world created here is wonderful because within five minutes of the film, we are completely embraced into this world. The darker side of the film shows us just how easily people can become consumed by greed. This will leave you shocked with the events of the film and will leave you never wanting to be part of the art world.

HorrorThe horror comes from the sinister nature behind the art work, going hand in hand with just how Morf is slowly starting to lose his mind as the work is become bigger.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the art world for the settings, this shows us how the members of the art world will do whatever they want to become the biggest name in the industry.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are wonderful they play in with artistic world when it comes to the body count, we get to see.


Scene of the Movie –
The sinister side of the artwork.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The trailer gives too much away.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful horror film that will fully engross us into the artworld with the characters and gives us the twisted look at just what could happen when a spirit can spread so easily.

 

Overall: Visually beautiful horror film.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – D – Demolition (2015)

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Writer: Bryan Sipe (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis, CJ Wilson, Polly Draper, Malachy Cleary

 

Plot: A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Drama

 

Story: Demolition starts as we meet Davis (Gyllenhaal) our successful banker whose world comes crashing down when his wife is killed in a car accident. His boss and father in law Phil (Cooper) tries to help him through the loss, but Davis finds himself spending time writing to a vending company that failed to give him a snack, moments after his wife’s death. Davis gives them full story on what is going on in his life, because he isn’t showing the sense of loss everyone expects him to.

Davis finds himself getting obsessed with fixing things that are broken by taking them apart, which leaves a string of broken appliances, but soon he starts having conversations with a customer service agent Karen (Watts) who was moved by his letters.

As Davis connects more with Karen the two start to get into a relationship as Davis looks to rebuild his life and move on with everything.

 

Thoughts on Demolition

 

Characters/PerformanceDavis is a successful banker who life get turned upside down, he struggles with the loss of his wife which finds him determined to just destroy things that need to be fixed which puts his current life in danger of going off course. Karen is the single mother that befriends Davis once he starts complaining about his experience with the vending machine. She is undecided where she wants her life to go but sees something in Davis that she wants to help. Phil is the father-in-law and boss that wants help him but is getting tired of his destructive nature.

Performance wise, Jake Gyllenhaal is great in this leading role carrying the film with his performance, Naomi Watt is great in the supporting role with Chris Cooper who always gives us good performances.

StoryThe story here focuses on one man dealing with the loss of his wife, we see how he enters into a strange reason of just wanting to break stuff to get through the grief. This is a strange way to vision this but it clearly the best way to show us how difficult it would be to lose a loved one.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how difficult the life Davis is now living through which is important for us to see.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama about grief and dealing with it all in your own way, it does show how difficult it can be but how important it can be to let someone go through it in their own way.

 

Overall: Nicely placed drama that went slightly under the radar.

Rating

 

 

Crime Thriller Weekend – Zodiac (2007)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: James Vanderbilt (Screenplay) Robert Graysmith (Book)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch

 

Plot: In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.


Tagline – There’s more than one way to lose your life to a killer

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great But Too Long of a Thriller

 

Story: Zodiac starts as the infamous Zodiac killer strikes in San Francisco before demanding his code be printed in the newspaper, the Chronicle, where Paul Avery (Downey Jr) is getting the letters and works with cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal) who has a knack for cracking codes. As the body count continues to grow Inspector David Toschi (Ruffalo) and Inspector William Armstrong (Edwards) investigate the crimes as the people of San Francisco start to panic throughout the spree.

With time passing by Avery uses the press the play with the Zodiac, making David’s job difficult as it draws out all the people who want to be known as the Zodiac, while Robert becomes obsessed with cracking the codes being left in letters and solving the case.

 

Thoughts on Zodiac

 

Characters – When looking at the characters you must remember these are based on real people, Robert Graysmith is a cartoonist working for the Chronicle newspaper that becomes obsessed with cracking the Zodiac codes while working with writer Paul Avery. Paul Avery is the writer at the Chronicle that is receiving the letters from the Zodiac killer, he is willing to take a risk to get the story and potentially making himself famous. Inspector David Toschi is the lead investigator working on the Zodiac case, he must overcome derestriction nightmares while tracking any clues, suspects or letters that come his way.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is brilliant in this leading role showing how a man out of his field can become a conspiracy driven man. Mark Ruffalo shows here that he will always be a shining light in an ensembled cast. Robert Downey Jr was always skilled enough to be a great character actor and this one started to show he could return to the top of the industry. The supporting cast through the film are also great with their roles.

StoryThe mystery of the Zodiac killer is one of the most famous unsolved serial killings in history. Most of the film follows Robert’s spiral into conspiracy theorist that is searching for the Zodiac killer, which does work and become the most interesting part of the film. the problem I am facing looking at this movie is that the first half seems to mix who the main character is trying to solve the case while the enjoyable part is all Robert and of course we don’t know the complete truth on these murders either.

Crime/Mystery/ThrillerThe crime is one of the most famous in modern history, one that is unsolved which does play into the mystery side to everything we are watching too.

SettingsThe timelines we follow give us authentic settings for everything as the film does span over two decades.


Scene of the Movie –
Robert’s face to face with a potential suspect.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film itself is too long.

Budget: $65 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look at one of the most interesting unsolved murder mysteries, it gives us a detailed look at three main men involved in investigating the crime all with different motives from different backgrounds.

 

Overall: Detailed but overly long look at the Zodiac case.

Rating

 

 

Stronger (2017)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer: John Pollono (Screenplay) Jeff Bauman, Bret Witter (Book)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Richard Lane Jr, Nate Richman, Lenny Clarke, Patty O’Neil, Clancy Brown

 

Plot: Stronger is the inspiring real life story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become a symbol of hope after surviving the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.


Tagline – Strength Defines Us

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Inspiring Drama

 

Story: Stronger starts as we meet Jeff Bauman (Gyllenhaal) a likeable supermarket worker that is a regular in his local Boston bar, while trying to rebuild his relationship with Erin (Maslany) who is running the Boston marathon. Jeff plans to be on the finish line to supporting Erin, this is where his life changed forever, when he is one of the victim in the bombings.

With his parents Patty (Richardson) and Big Jeff (Brown) by his side, we learn that Jeff has had both his legs amputated from above the knees. With the full support of his family, Erin, his employers and the city of Boston, Jeff starts his recovery, rehibition and learning that his life is never going to be the same again.  

 

Thoughts on Stronger

 

Characters – The characters in this movie are real people, you can’t make up their stories, their feelings and emotions about what has happened to them. Jeff Bauman is the average young man, working a normal job, living a normal life. His life is changed forever when he becomes one of the victims of the Boston marathon, losing both his legs. He must learn to accept his new reality of life, while dealing with the pressure of becoming the face for strength in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings. Erin Hurley is the on again off again girlfriend of Jeff’s it is for her that he attends the marathon, she gives everything to stick by him during his recovery, gives up her job to care for him, but she struggles to cope with extra demand on hr life. Patty is Jeff’s mother who brings the family together to support him, she does also struggle to see her son the way he is now.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is fantastic in this movie, he once again shows everybody that he is the real deal, he can accept any change needed to make himself the character while showing the emotional distress his character goes through. Tatiana Maslany is brilliant in her role too, she shows the difficulty that her character must go through with each action and speech she goes through. Miranda Richardson is great as the devastated mother who must remain strong after what has happened.

StoryThe story continues on the events of the Boston Marathon after last years Patriots Day. This time we just follow one man’s recovery and how it effects the people in his life. This story plays on the emotional level that which you feel as Jeff’s road to recovery unfolds. It shows how one moment in life can change everything in life and the people you are sharing that life with.

BiopicJeff Bauman was an average person, his friends loved and respected, his life changed making him a celebrity for the city, which is where the pressure is shown for him.

SettingsThe film is set in and around Boston which is where the event happened and it shows the life the people had before it happened.


Scene of the Movie –
Carlos meets Jeff.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was difficult to find one.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama showing the strength the city showed in support for Jeff through the tragic event that changed his life, we see how he did overcome the event to become stronger.

 

Overall: This is a power drama that shows how to find strength in the darkest moments.

Rating