Oscar Isaac Weekend – Sucker Punch (2011)

Director: Zack Snyder

Writer: Zack Snyder, Steve Shibuya (Screenplay)

Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm, Scott Glenn

 

Plot: A young girl is institutionalized by her abusive stepfather, retreating to an alternative reality as a coping strategy, envisioning a plan to help her escape.


Tagline – You Will Be Unprepared.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Sexy & Stylish

 

Story: Sucker Punch Starts when Babydoll (Browning) is se to a mental institute by her evil step-father, looking to cope with this new world, she creates an alternative reality where the other patients Sweet Pea (Cornish), Rocket (Malone), Blondie (Hudgens) and Amber (Chung) entertain clients for Blue Jones (Isaac) the orderly who in this world is a gangster.

Babydoll has a plan to escape which involved winning over the girls, most support him, while Sweet Pea isn’t so happy to go along with the plan, with each performance putting the girls in a life or death situation outside of the current reality.

 

Thoughts on Sucker Punch

 

Characters – Babydoll is thrown into a mental home after trying to defend her younger sister from their abusive stepfather, here she knows she has five days before it is lights out, which means she must plan her escape, which sees her create alternative reality where she can escape the hands of the people who will end her life. Sweet Pea is the eldest the girls in the home, she is most opposed to going through with the escape plan, believe it will get the rest of the girls in trouble. Rocket is the first of the girls to let Babydoll in after being rescued by her, she guides her around the home teaching her just what they need to know to survive. Blondie and Amber some off as the two naïve of the girls as they will go along with any idea which would make their lives easier. Dr Gorski looks after the girls preparing them for their performances. Blue Jones is the one that runs the club, an orderly in the home that holds the key to the only exit.

PerformancesEmily Browning in the leading role fits the part perfectly, we needed her character to look the youngest of the group. Abbie Cornish fits the oldest of the girl’s role well too because she see her vulnerable side through the film, while trying to be the strongest. Jena Malone plays the middle ground between the girls well as we see just how conflicted her character becomes through the film. When we get into the supporting cast, we do know that we performances that fit the film without looking out of place in any point in the film.

StoryThe story can be cut down to a simple escape plan movie, that would be the simplest way to describe the story, only this isn’t a simple movie. It creates worlds, within worlds to cope with an impending outcome for Babygirl. The idea that we jump into other realities does help the film feel a lot more enjoyable because the wildly imaginative ideas only improve the story, even if it could have borrowed from many subgenres. While this does have a comic book feel and you could easily see more chapters being added to make more adventures, it does have to go down as original in the story front, something that shouldn’t ever be criticised.

Action/FantasyThe action is massive set pieces each one from a different eras from a samurai to war, they all work and feel unique to this film, which is filled with fantasy ideas of just what the characters use to create the world they can fight through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just where the girl’s minds will go through the performances, each one makes the mission to escape feel like we are fighting for something.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are fantastic, they show us just how you can create something this visually stunning no matter how big it could be.


Scene of the Movie –
Dragon fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Blondie and Amber are too similar.

Final ThoughtsThis is a truly ambitious movie, it shows us just how you can make an original movie which will completely go against anything you believed you would be seeing.

 

Overall: Brave, ambitious, wildly over the top, what more could you want?

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – I – Inherent Vice (2014)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (Screenplay) Thomas Pynchon (Novel)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short

 

Plot: In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello investigates the disappearance of a former girlfriend.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: 2 and Half Hours too Long

 

Story: Inherent Vice starts as private investigator Larry ‘Doc’ Spotello (Phoenix) who gets a visit from his ex-girlfriend Shasta (Waterston) needing his help dealing with the latest job she is on with her boyfriend Michael Z Wolfmann (Roberts). When he goes missing Lt. Det. Christian F ‘Bigfoot’ Bjornsen (Brolin) leads the case which also sees Shasta go missing too.

As the case continues to unfold Doc finds himself meet a string of different characters who all have different pieces of information that will help solve the case.

 

Thoughts on Inherent Vice

 

Characters/PerformanceDoc is our main character and he is a hippie private investigator that has connections all over town and finds himself in the middle of a big cast.

Performance wise, Phoenix is good but to be fair due to the slightly boring story the actors don’t have much to work with.

StoryThe story here is a crime story as we watch how a PI must solve a missing persons case and what the bigger picture to everything is, it would be fair to say this is very boring and not interesting in anyway.

Comedy/CrimeThere is no comedy in this film, I am pretty confident in saying that, the crime story is fine but not very interesting either.

SettingsThe settings look fine for the time period in question but otherwise nothing comes off truly memorable.

Final ThoughtsThis was a boring story with an all-star cast that don’t get the chance to show their abilities.

 

Overall: Sometimes you just need to miss a film and this is one of them.

Rating

 

 

The Neon Demon (2016)

neonDirector: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Poly Stenham (Screenplay)

Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

 

Plot: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: UMMMMM ZZZZZZ I Think

 

Story: The Neon Demon starts young naïve model Jesse (Fanning) who at the tender age of 16 moved the LA to make a name for herself, striking up a friendship with make-up artist Ruby (Malone) she finds her way to model agent Roberta Hoffman (Hendricks) who starts her on her trail to stardom.

As Jesse stars to rise up the ranks in the modelling world she meets all the other models that have all gone to their own lengths to get into the world, but will she let this new world consume her.

The Neon Demon is a film I can honestly say I really just didn’t understand or of the bits I did understand I feel it comes off like a poor version of Starry Eyes. The film is full blown artsy with lots of long shots of pretty much nothing happening other than music. In the end I found myself wanting this to be a lot shorter and have a more rounded story.

 

Overall: Artsy messy film really

Rating20

 

 

The Messenger (2009)

messangerDirector: Oren Moverman

Writer: Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Foster, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker, Woody Harrelson, Yaya DaCosta, Portia, Lisa Joyce, Steve Buscemi, Peter Francis James, Samantha Morton

 

Plot: An American soldier struggles with an ethical dilemma when he becomes involved with a widow of a fallen officer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Powerful

 

Story: The Messenger starts as we meet Staff Sergeant Montgomery (Foster) who is open to having affairs as we see with Kelly (Malone). With time running out on his time in the army he gets re-assigned by Colonel Dorsett (Walker) to the notification of death under Captain Stone (Harrelson) showing him the ropes.

We get to see how difficult the job is for the two men as we see different reactions to the news before Montgomery starts to fall in love with one of the widows he informs about her husband’s death Olivia (Morton). The two don’t know how to handle what people will think and Stone is against any involvement in getting involved with anyone they inform the news to.infomrer

The Messenger gives us a look into the world of the soldiers that have to inform loved one that their soldiers have died while serving their country. This alone is a difficult subject to cover and to witness how these men have to go through this each time one of their own dies. We also get to look through how both men have troubles in their lives and want to handle them in a different way. I will say this is a difficult story to go through because the if the subject is close to heart this will be hard to see. Overall this is a story that needs to be told because we sometimes forget that the heroes of war will leave people behind that will have to get through the sudden reaction of losing them.

 

Actor Review

 

Ben Foster: Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery is an injured soldier whose time is running out in the army, he can’t go back into combat so he gets re-assigned to the notification department because of his strong character. He learns how to handle the situations but ends up breaking one of the rules by getting involved with one of the widows he informs. Ben shows just how good he is in this role which could easily be the best of his career to date.

Jena Malone: Kelly is the girl Will grew up with, they are clearly in love but she didn’t wait for him. The two do meet for flings on the side but in the end we don’t understand how the two act. Jena is solid in this supporting role but it is nothing more than that.

Samantha Morton: Olivia Pitterson is the widow that the two inform of her husband’s death but Will wants to help her out around the house. We see how she gets torn with whether to get involved with Will or continue grieving her husband. Samantha is great in this supporting role showing us just how easy these roles come to her.

Woody Harrelson: Captain Tony Stone is showing Will the ropes for this notification role. He knows the role and how to handle each outcome and reaction from the people they are informing. He doesn’t like how Will is approaching the job in a different way to him which causes tension between the two. Woody is brilliant in this role showing why he is one of the most trusted actors in Hollywood.

Support Cast: The Messenger has a supporting cast which does have a few big names with Steve Buscemi being one of the men informed the news of the loss of his son, most of the supporting cast are people the two have to inform that all give different and real reaction to the news.

Director Review: Oren MovermanOren gives us a very powerful film that shows the difficult side of the war in Iraq.

 

Romance: The Messenger shows how forbidden love can have an effect on the lives it leaves out characters in.

War: The Messenger looks at the side of war that no one wants to learn about with it being dealing with breaking the news of the deaths of family members.

Settings: The Messenger shows us just where the different families will be living during the time their loved ones are at war making each location look like an everyday location.

Suggestion: The Messenger is one film I do think everyone should watch at least once just to see how difficult the notification of a fallen soldier is. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Foster and Harrelson are brilliant.

Worst Part: Kelly doesn’t feel like a developed enough character.

 

Believability: While this story is fictional the job, and the reaction could all be real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

Overall: Powerful story on difficult subject.

Ratingcard

 

 

John Hurt Weekend – Contact (1997)

contactDirector: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: James v Hart, Michael Goldenberg (Screenplay) Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan (Story)

Starring: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt, David Morse, William Fichtner, James Woods, Angela Bassett, John Hurt, Rob Lowe, Jena Malone

 

Plot: Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: It Is All What You Think

 

Story: Contact starts by showing us Ellie Arroway (Malone as young and Foster as main) as she spends her life searching in space for answers especially after her father Ted (Morse) dies when she is young. She clashes with fellow scientists who try to make her show her own potential in David Drumlin (Skerritt).

After Ellie and her team make the discovery that will change the world forever she gets thrown into the world of politics rather than her comfort zone of science. The world has come together with this new discovery and once they uncover the message the worlds smartest minds have to build the machine while selecting the one-person pilot to finally answer the questions being sent through space and time.

Contact is a sci-fi film that gives us the idea of communication from outside our own known radio waves. I liked how this only looks at the science versus the religion, there is no silly looking at destroying like most alien films. There is a lot of science talk which is one of the few negatives in this film but it is needed. When it comes to films like this I can see people getting bored even though it I a rewarding watch by the end.

 

Actor Review

 

Jodie Foster: Eleanor Arroway has spent her life searching space for any sort of communication, many scientists in her own field question her motives as they see so much potential and wasted talent. When she finally makes contact she is forced to team up with the very people that tried to stop her but she will finally get the answers she has been looking for. Jodie does a great job in this role as we see her clash with different obstacles in her way.ellie

Matthew McConaughey: Palmer Joss is an author who has been working on a book trying to question science’s impact on the religious world. Believing in different things than Ellie the two make for a very interesting couple. He gets left with a big decision which could change his relationship with Ellie. Matthew does a good job in this supporting role without really exceling.

Tom Skerritt: David Brumlin is the head of scientific research that knows Ellie has potential even after pulling the plug on her work. When the discovery happens he tries to take the praise and ends up going up against Ellie to be part of the mission. Tom is good in this role playing a character that is always out for himself.

John Hurt: S R Hadden is the financer behind all of Ellie’s work, he is very secretive but is willing to make appearances to fill in the gaps on her works. John gives us a very good cameo like performance as the mysterious millionaire.

Support Cast: Contact has a big supporting cast that all offer different opinions on the situation at hand, we get to see how each opinion could affect what is going on.

Director Review: Robert ZemeckisRobert brings his brilliant style to this film to tell a story that could become complicated or even boring but flows lovely throughout.

 

Mystery: Contact gives us plenty to question as we wonder are we alone in the solar system.

Sci-Fi: Contact enters us into the idea that space isn’t as empty as we once thought.

Thriller: Contact does pull us in as we simply don’t know what will be found going into the machine.

Settings: Contact uses the settings well to show us in the scientific world would be dealing with if everything became a reality.
Special Effects
: Contact uses great effects to show how the machine actually works but otherwise doesn’t turn to them.

Suggestion: Contact is one I will always recommend as I like to see how people will answer the question. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Journey.

Worst Part: Slightly long

Favourite Quote: Ellie ‘I’ll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it’s just us… seems like an awful waste of space. Right?

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Interstellar

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for one Oscar for Best Sound.

Box Office: $100 Million

Budget: $90 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Tagline: A message from deep space. Who will be the first to go? A journey to the heart of the universe.

Trivia: Just like their characters in the movie, in real life Jodie Foster is an Atheist and Matthew McConaughey is a devout Christian.

 

Overall: Scientific film that truly will keep you wondering about what you want to believe

Ratingcard