Bradley Cooper Weekend – Serena (2014)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Ron Rash (Book)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris, Ana Ularu

 

Plot: In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton’s timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena.


Tagline – Some loves can never let you go.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Slow

 

Story: Serena starts as we see how George Pemberton (Cooper) and his timber empire is struggling with money, meeting Serena (Lawrence) the two are married and her past in the timber industry helps George make decisions which will increase the profit he is making.

When George’s long term friend and first to turn to Buchanan (Dencik) starts to turn away from his ideas to work with the local Sheriff McDowell (Jones) who wants to stop the timber trade and make a national park, the life of George is turned upside down with only Serena to keep his head on straight.

 

Thoughts on Serena

 

Characters – George Pemberton is a timber tycoon, he has built up his empire and the work seems to be going well, though he is in financial hardship, friends turning on him and turning to methods which could bring down his whole empire. Serena is the woman from another world, daughter of a timber tycoon herself who tragically lost her family in a fire, she knows how to get the most out of a profit and stars to help run the business with George. Galloway is a tracker that works to help locate dangers for the crew, on the side job he makes sure that George can hunt the animals he desires. Sheriff McDowell is the man against George, he wants to turn the woodland area into a park which could one day bring tourists to the area.

PerformancesBradley Cooper is known more for his work in comedy, sure he has tackled dramas before and usually done a good job, in this he struggles to make any impact on the film, though he isn’t the only one. Jennifer Lawrence is no where near her best in this film as she struggles to make the impact her character seems to need to be having on the film. Rhys Ifans is the only one that seems to be interesting to watch in this film. I would say most of these comes from the poorly written characters.

StoryThe story here follows a timber tycoon who is about to lose his fortune until he meets Serena who only makes thing even crazier for him. Well that is what I got from the story, I am not going to lie, there isn’t much going on in this film, I don’t know if this is based on a real person who just the depression-era in general or even the time scale of the movie. We do seem to have a storyline about deforestation versus a nature park which for the most part is a back burner while also having a story about love I think. This is one of the weakest stories I have ever seen, it doesn’t capture anything we need to make us enjoy what we are seeing.

RomanceThe romance side of the film is a quickie marriage and learning that love happened before the wife arrived.

SettingsThe film is set in Colorado which was a big part of the timber industry, it works for the film without giving us too much to work with visually.


Scene of the Movie –
George saving the crew member.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of it being boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that drags along way to slowly without any meaningful storyline arcs going on, we have unlikable characters and nothing that captures our attention.

 

Overall: Dull is being nice.

Rating

 

 

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Red Sparrow (2018)

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Justin Haythe (Screenplay) Jason Matthews (Novel)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciaran Hinds, Joely Richardson, Bill Camp, Jeremy Irons

 

Plot: Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to ‘Sparrow School,’ a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.


Tagline –  I Know Your Secrets.

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Espionage Movie

 

Story: Red Sparrow starts when CIA agent Nate Nash (Edgerton) blows his cover in Russia just as brilliant ballerina Dominika (Lawrence) breaks her leg during a performance, 3 months later her Uncle Vanya (Schoenaerts) offers to help with the new financial crisis her family would be facing, by bringing her into the Sparrow school.

The Sparrow program teaches the subjects to use their bodies to seduce the enemies of the Russia as Nate is forced back into the field as he is the only contact to a source within Russia. Dominika’s first assignment is to track down and seduce Nate bring stopping him from getting the security information he is after in Hungry, the cat-n-mouse chase is now on.

 

Thoughts on Red Sparrow

 

Characters – Dominika was once a brilliant ballerina, destine to be one of the top stars of the dancing world, after an accident her priorities change as she is desperately trying to keep the roof over her sick mother’s head. She is recruited to become a Sparrow, an agent that seduces the enemy in hopes of getting secrets, she isn’t like the other sparrows though, she has a way about getting the job done. Nate Nash is a CIA agent undercover in Russia, he does blow his cover landing him back home, but when his source will only talk to him he enters the field again, he uses his skills to get the information and stay ahead of Dominika. Vanya is the Uncle of Dominika, he recruits her with his government position believing that her family connection will help get results.

PerformancesJennifer Lawrence is good even if her accent comes in and out way too often for a consistent level required in the film. Joel Edgerton is good throughout, we can always count on his to give us strong performances throughout any film though. Matthias Schoenaerts is the best performer in the film in the supporting role and to say how many big names we have in the supporting roles we get to see some of the best actors in the industry here.

StoryThe story takes us into the espionage style movie where we follow a reluctant young Russian woman being forced into working for the Russian government and an American CIA agent looking to finish a case he should have been removed from. This does fall into the cat-n-mouse style story which will try to keep you guessing along the way and shows how both sides of the intelligence war are operating, leaving you to figure out who is the mole for the Americans. It should have higher levels of suspense for the subject matter, but just doesn’t suck you into the film on the levels you are expecting.

Mystery/ThrillerThe film uses the mystery side of the story to keep us guessing to who the contact in Russia is, what are the secrets that are being released and which side will get the upper hand, the Russians or the Americans. The film doesn’t feel like the highest tension level that it should though.

SettingsThe film does have some beautiful shots as we learn where the film is being set, we do move around Europe for the film though, which takes away moments of suspense we could receive.


Scene of the Movie –
The weapon of choice for the assassin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It has slow pacing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow paced spy thriller, it does try to keep us guessing throughout only to end up failing to give us any suspense or use any of the sexual skills we are forced to watch the training side of things.

 

Overall: Thriller that just doesn’t hit the suspense levels required.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – J – Joy (2015)

joyDirector: David O Russell

Writer: David O Russell (Screenplay) David O Russell, Annie Mumolo (Story)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini

 

Plot: Joy is the story of the title character, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Story But Not Enough

 

Story: Joy starts with her grandmother Mimi (Ladd) introducing us to the family, her daughter Terry (Madsen) who is obsessed with soap operas, while Joy (Lawrence) always the extra creative still ends up with an air hostess job. Joy still lives with the rest of her family including her ex-husband Tony (Ramirez) as her estranged father Rudy (De Niro) needs to move back in.

Joy tired of just getting by she wants to bring back her ideas from her childhood and start making an invention that could stop her family from ever having to worry again. Joy starts by trying to build a new design for a mop with the support of all her family but can she make an impact in the industry.

Joy is a good story that shows how important it is to not give up while chasing a dream, I do like where this shows how determined Joy was but I would’ve liked to have seen more from after the events in the film showing more than we got. Making a movie about selling mops isn’t ever going to be easy and this falls to really pull us in enough to make us interested in what is happening.

 

Actor Review

 

Jennifer Lawrence: Joy was always a creative person but life just seemed to hold until final she decides to take the risk a try and make something that could change the world, she creates a mop and along with her father she tries to sale this into the world where she goes to make a future for her family. Jennifer is great in this role as the strong woman.joy charcyer

Robert De Niro: Rudy is Joy’s father and a business man himself, when she wants to go into business he stands with her to try and make this happen. He isn’t sure with every decision but doesn’t want to let his daughter down. Robert is on this film but doesn’t get too much screen time to really shine.

Bradley Cooper: Neil Walker is the sales manager at QVC who takes a chance on Joy’s idea by putting in on his network, he respects her aggressive approach and lets her be the one to sale the product. Bradley is only in a supporting role but doesn’t get enough screen time to have enough important impact.

Edgar Ramirez: Tony is the ex-husband of Joy but the two are still close friends, he lives in the basement and helps with the business and is the one who introduces her to Neil. Edgar is good but I would have liked to have seen more from him as he looked interesting.

Support Cast: Joy has a good supporting cast but I feel we could have seen more from all of them.

Director Review: David O RussellDavid doesn’t give us enough for what we know he is capable from behind the camera.

 

Comedy: Joy is classed as a comedy?

Settings: Joy uses the settings to make us feel like we are in the same time period.
Suggestion
: Joy is a film to try as we get to learn about the woman herself Joy. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Lawrence is brilliant.

Worst Part: Would have liked to have seen more.

 

Believability: Based on the real lady.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 2 Golden Globes

Oscar Chances: Lawrence could get a nod but that is it.

Budget: $60 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

Overall: Selling a mop movie, well this isn’t going to be that bad but not interesting enough

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Mother! (2017)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Darren Aronofsky (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brain Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson

 

Plot: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.


Tagline – seeing is believing

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Too Artsy

 

Story: Mother starts as our leading lady (Lawrence) known as Mother (No characters have names) awakens giving us a tour of her beautiful home with husband Him (Bardem) a writer. The couple peace is interrupted by Man (Harris) who visits the couple and the next day his wife Woman (Pfeiffer) arrives.

As Mother becomes irritated by the visitors as people continue to turn up and she questions the love her husband has for her before things escalate into something you don’t see coming.

 

Thoughts on Mother

 

Characters – Mother is the character we follow around for the whole film, we see how she sees things unfolding in the house as the guest continue to arrive while she tries to regain the attention of her husband, she does come off whiny at times though. Him is the husband and writer, he always seems very opening to guest and has an ore about him. Man is the first visitor that comes uninvited to the home, he gets welcomed in and we learn part of his life through the part along with his wife Woman who challenge Mother’s belief.

PerformancesJennifer Lawrence is fine in the leading role but this won’t go down as her best as I found her slightly annoying after a while. Javier Bardem does have a mystery about the character he is playing. We do have solid performance from all the characters through the film.

StoryThe story can easily be looked at as a biblical concept with what happens following our leading lady Mother dealing with the problem visitors. The problem is this is a story that you would need to understand elements of the bible, the other problems come where the certain things get hinted at but don’t seem to follow through with and you would need a lot of patience to get through this film.

Horror/Mystery/ThrillerThe horror elements of the film are poor because nothing seems to come from any hints, the mystery is the highlight of the film because you want to know just what the hell is happening. The film does try to keep you on edge from start to finish.

SettingsThe whole film does take place in the home of the couple as they get visitors which dives into chaos.

Special EffectsThe effects are good through the film without being ground breaking but do fall into the director’s trait.


Scene of the Movie –
The single take in the chaos.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mother character gets annoying quickly.

Final ThoughtsIn the end I didn’t enjoy this film, it feels very long and difficult to describe, it has plenty of tension but things start going nowhere.

 

Overall: Too much going on through the film.

Rating

 

 

Passengers (2016)

passengerDirector: Morten Tyldum

Writer: Jon Spaihts (Screenplay)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Vince Foster, Kara Flowers

 

Plot: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Stunning

 

Story: Passengers starts with the Starship Avalon heading towards Homestead II with 5000 passengers and 258 crew members on board. When the ship goes through an asteroid field the ship shows its ability to repair itself in any damage is received. But then the reset process goes through Jim Preston (Pratt) is awoken from his sleep chamber.

Jim entering the preparation process soon discovers he is the only one to have been awoken 90 years early. Spending over a year alone with only an android Arthur (Sheen) to talk to Jim becomes obsessed with fellow passenger Aurora Lane (Lawrence) and wanting to wake her up and once he finally goes through with it he wants to keep that a secret while other odd malfunctions are going on through the ship.

When the romance between the two blossoms, the truth comes out building the tension between the only two living awake humans on the ship but soon the real reason why Jim was woken up when Gus Mancuso (Fishburne) a member of the crew wakes up.

 

Thoughts on Passengers

 

StoryThe story side of this of this film does bottle down to one man alone for 90s years and what would you do to keep yourself busy? We do also end up falling into the ship is damaged and needs fixing which has been done plenty of times. I did enjoy the story in places but much like Oblivion is does feel like a really long music video.

Romance/Sci-FiThe romance side of this story does have elements which do feel slightly creepy in places because could you fall in love with the person that destroys you future? The sci-fi side of this story does show a side to real world where humans would need to find a new planet to live on and this tackles the idea of going on that mission which I did like.

Characters/PerformanceJim is a good everyday person who finds himself alone for the journey giving us the ultimate question if you could wake someone up to be with you would you? Aurora is a strong minded character whose character arc I do feel is very clichéd and I feel not every decision she makes would be realistic. We only have two other characters with Arthur the android who feels like he has just been ripped out of The Shinning and Gus who is only included to fill in the gaps. There are no other characters involved enough to make a real impact.

Looking at the performances we get what you expect from Pratt and Lawrence without reaching the highest levels of their abilities. Sheen fast becomes the star of the show as you do want to see his character as often as possible, Fishburne is good for his role but I was left questioning just what was the point in Andy Garcia being he captain who doesn’t even have a line in the film.

SettingsThis film is set entirely on the spacecraft which helps with the character decisions Jim makes because what would you do if you were alone in space with nobody to talk to or spend time with what would you do. The setting also looks fantastic as you fully believe every inch of the ship.

Special EffectsThis is one of the most visually stunning movies you will see and this is achieved with all the special effects used to make this happen.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great visual watch but it does lack the real depth in the overall story.

 

Overall: Beautifully shot movie that falls short in the depth in character stories because it does feel like a live action version of Wall-E

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