Elizabeth Olsen Weekend – Liberal Arts (2012)

Director: Josh Radnor

Writer: Josh Radnor (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, Elizabeth Reaser, John Magaro, Kate Burton

 

Plot: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.


Tagline – Sometimes students make the best teachers.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly High-Brow

 

Story: Liberal Arts starts when 30-something Jesse Fisher (Radnor) gets invited back to his college by his retiring professor Peter Hoberg (Jenkins) party. While returning he loved going down memory lane and gets to meet student Zibby (Olsen) who strikes up a friendship with him, before he returns home to New York.

When the two stay in contact a romance starts to blossom between the two, however difficult Jesse feels about the age difference between the two.

 

Thoughts on Liberal Arts

 

Characters – Jesse Fisher is a 30-something living in New York, reading his way through life, he gets invited back to his college for a retirement party, where he meets Zibby falling for her, seeing a future he couldn’t have in his current life, though he also sees a chance to help a brilliant student who is struggling through college. Zibby is a student in at the college studying drama, she sees something different in Jesse, a mature man in her life away from the usual college student, she likes to let things be and let them unfold. Professor Peter Hoberg is the retiring professor that invites Jesse back, only he doesn’t want to go through with his retirement. The rest of the character include the professors Jesse once studied under and the students he sees his own troubles in.

PerformancesJosh Radnor takes up a few roles in this film, director, writer and his performance is solid enough for the leading role, even though he is might be the weakest performer from his own hit sitcom, this performance feels like what Zach Braff did with Garden State. Elizabeth Olsen is good in her role, while Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney are going to give strength to the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows a former college student return to his old college where he gets caught up in wondering why the students don’t understand what life will bring them, be it love and understand underachieving. Now this should be an interesting story, Jesse is a character that tries to explain how life can change in the future and not wanting to waste it, only this is what he is doing himself. The problems mount up as we don’t address the problems strongly enough, where Jesse does get involved, only he doesn’t show any signs of knowing what is going on, we never learn what he does for a living which doesn’t help certain thought processes he could come up with. The story also feels like it is trying to look down on people in places.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy mostly doesn’t get many laughs, the light toned seriousness behind the story doesn’t come off clear enough which also disappoints. The romance is mostly looking at how love can be strange for all those involved in it

SettingsThe film does use two main settings with one being New York, well that is where all Americans seem to want to live, and the college which brings back memories for Jesse.


Scene of the Movie –
Helping Dean.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving the Dean side of the story enough focus.

Final ThoughtsThis is a story that tries to take things too seriously which sucks most of the comedy out of the film. The film has a lot to say only to skip over too much of the importance in the messages being talked about.

 

Overall: Frustrating overly intelligent movie.

Rating

 

 

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War Machine (2017)

Director: David Michod

Writer: David Michod (Screenplay) Michael Hastings (Book)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hayes, John Magaro, Anthony Michael Hall, Emory Cohen, Topher Grace, Ben Kingsley, Scoot McNairy

 

Plot: An absurdist war story for our times, writer-director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom) recreates a U.S. General’s roller-coaster rise and fall as part reality, part savage parody – raising the specter of just where the line between them lies today. His is an exploration of a born leader’s ultra-confident march right into the dark heart of folly. At the story’s core is Brad Pitt’s sly take on a successful, charismatic four-star general who leapt in like a rock star to command NATO forces in Afghanistan, only to be taken down by a journalist’s no-holds-barred exposé.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good War Comedy

 

Story: War Machine starts as highly respected and inspiration General Glen McMahon (Pitt) getting recruited to Afghanistan to see how the war is going over there, Glen brings his trusted men Pete Duckman (Hayes), Cory Staggart (Magaro), Greg Pulver (Hall), Willy Dunne (Cohen), Matt Little (Grace) and Andy Moon (Cyler) to bring the base together fixing the divide and keep the American side of the war happy back home.

We watch how Gen McMahon looks to recruit enough soldiers to make his plan to stop the problems happening in Afghanistan by using the counter insurgence tactics which have famously never worked before. Glen leads his close-knit group around Europe to find the rest of soldiers required from the allies of the United States as he continues his idea of peaceful removal of insurgence instead of just killing them.

 

Thoughts on War Machine

 

Characters/PerformanceGeneral Glen McMahon is assigned to Afghanistan to finish the war against the insurgence, he is respected and gets results by doing things his way. He wants to change things and make it feel like a war over a holiday image he sees it looking like. Greg Pulver is the loyalist man to Glen, he has been by his side from the start and is a loose cannon at times. The rest of the characters do all include the type of figures you would expect all getting the screen time required for the characters importance.

Performance wise, Brad Pitt is fantastic in this leading role showing us he can do comedy through a straight-faced role. Outside of Pitt it would be fair to say everybody else does a good job through this film fitting the chemistry required for the role.

StoryThe story is part parody and part light-hearted humour of how the war in Afghanistan could look like, more politics than conflict. We do also get the reality of war thrown at us and this shows us just what the problem with the war in Afghanistan. The story does feel long in places as this is two hours long but it is worth it for the reality check it gives.

Comedy/War The comedy comes from the reality check of how naïve the war in Afghanistan was, it’s not a laugh a minute it is a laugh of that was stupid wasn’t it. The war side of the film comes from trying to solve the problem without conflict.

SettingsEach setting looks good for the film and shows us just how this was for the soldiers would have come off comfortable for the soldiers over the previous wars.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that is worth watching, it does have good moments on reality but it also has the moments that show how pointless the battle came off as.

 

Overall: One to watch.

Rating

 

 

The Finest Hours (2016)

casting card

 

Plot: The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Fantastic Story

 

Story: The Finest Hours starts by taking us back to 1951 Massachusetts where we meet Bernie Webber (Pine) struggling to gather the confidence for his first meeting with Miriam (Grainger). As a coastguard we see how hesitant he is to commit to a relationship knowing how dangerous his job is. After agreeing to marry Miriam we see a storm coming towards the town and move to an oil tanker with Ray Sybert (Affleck) on-board trying to make the right decision while entering the storm.

When the ship suffers heavy damage it is up to Ray to keep the crew making the right decisions with no way of calling for rescue. The rescue is going to be going with Daniel Cluff (Bana) and his coastguards but the problem is the ship is split in two and going in different directions. Bernie must lead a crew include Richard Livesey (Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Gallner) and Ervin Maske (Magaro) to take on what looks like an impossible mission to finally put the demons of a previous failure behind him.

The Finest Hours is the incredible story of four coastguards who have to brave the weather to save the stranded crew who also have to achieve their own remarkable achieve to survivor as long as they do against the elements. We do have a slow start to get into the rescue as we only follow the stranded ship early on while dealing with coastguard’s personal lives which while is real comes off unnecessary. This is something very interesting and is one I would suggest watching too as the courage these men showed is simple amazing.  

 

Actor Review

 

Chris Pine: Bernie Webber is a good honest sometimes social awkward coastguard, he has a haunting past after failing to save a wreck recently which does make members of the coastguard look down on him but when he is the last resort for saving the stricken oil tanker he will risk his life and three fellow coastguards to save them. Chris gives us a great performance not over playing like he can do with his normal roles keep this straight from start to finish.

Casey Affleck: Ray Sybert works in the ships engine room, when the ship gets split he is the only one that thinks of a way to keep the ship a float for as long as they do. He has to turn the hostile crew in his favour to bring them to safety. Casey is good in this role but I do think we could have seen a stronger performance from this talent.

Ben Foster: Richard Livesey is the second in command on Bernie’s boat the man he turns to for advice on each decision he makes but one of the only loyal men to stand by him. Ben is the ever reliable supporting character actor here.

Eric Bana: Daniel Cluff is the chief on the coastguards new to the area getting little respect from his coastguards. He makes the difficult decisions to send out his first choice team only to have to turn Bernie for the next rescue. Eric is good in his role playing the strict authority figure.

Support Cast: The Finest Hours has a good supporting cast filled with names you know are always good in supporting roles with not a single one giving a bad performance.

Director Review: Craig GillespieCraig gives us the incredible story of courage that really shows these men’s Finest Hours even if the film starts of slightly slow.

 

Action: The Finest Hours uses the action with the rescue that all comes off edge of your seat stuff.

History: The Finest Hours shows us just one of the many amazing stories that coastguard risk their lives for.

Thriller: The Finest Hours is one that once it gets started keeps us on the edge of your seat to see how this rescue mission will be achieved.

Settings: The Finest Hours recreates the settings of the time in question as well as the oil tanker, small lifeboat being battered on the seas.
Special Effects
: The Finest Hours uses great effects to make us believe we were part of this crew both on the rescuers and the rescued.

Suggestion: The Finest Hours is really one to watch because it really is a brilliant story. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The resuce.

Worst Part: Slightly slow starting.

Action Scene Of The Film: Breaking the bar.

 

Believability: Based on the real story.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Photos from the real event.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: 32 survivors, room for 12.

 

Overall: Stunning true story shot to look as realistic as possible.

Ratingcard

 

Oscar Season Challenge – Carol (2015)

Rob and I have decided to make a twist on the challenge where we will be looking at Oscar related films first before moving into going back to look at different Oscar winners from the past.

carolDirector: Todd Haynes

Writer: Phyllis Nagy (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lucy, Sarah Paulson, John Magaro, Cory Michal Smith

 

Plot: Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Romantic Story

 

Story: Carol starts as we fellow department shop clerk Therese (Mara) getting ready for the Christmas rush in the toy department, she has herself a boyfriend Richard (Lacy) who wants her to marry him but she just isn’t ready yet. Her life gets turned upside down when she meets the older woman Carol (Blanchett) who is also going through her own problems with her husband Harge (Chandler) trying to take her children away because of her lesbian liaisons.

With both their partners putting pressure on them the two go away together for Christmas as they have to keep their relationship hidden from the world who would frown on it in 1950’s America.

Carol shows the difficulty in any potential relationship between the same sex during the 1950s, it also tackles the ideas of different ages between any relationship too. We get to see how without technology people would different ways to expose affairs. While this really is just a love story and a good one at that it is it will show how different times were for something that wouldn’t even get looked at twice now a day.

 

Actor Review

 

Cate Blanchett: Carol is the married woman who has had a family but isn’t interested in the attention of men even though her lesbian tendencies are frowned upon by in the 1950s. she is going through messy divorce which leaves her in a position of losing her children, but Therese gives her a chance to be happy while all these things are going on. Cate gives us yet another brilliant performance proving she always gives the best performance year on year.carl character

Rooney Mara: Therese is the young department shop clerk who isn’t sure where her life will go next, she has a boyfriend who wants to marry her but when she meets Carol she automatically gets the desire to be with her. She ends up having a Christmas holiday learning something new about herself and life along the way. Rooney continues to show her talent in this role where she shines next to one of the best in the business.therese

Kyle Chandler: Harge is the husband of Carol who is tired of all her affairs but wants to keep the children in the right set of mind being raised correctly, that is until he reaches his final straw and wants to take away her children. Kyle gives us a good supporting role even if we would have liked to see slightly more in the character.

Sarah Paulson: Abby is a former lover of Carol’s who’s almost become part of the family, she questions the desire behind the desire to Therese but remains loyal to Carol for all the personal issues going on. Sarah is good in this role giving a good supporting role.

Support Cast: Carol has a good supporting cast that all do their jobs well through the film.

Director Review: Todd HaynesTodd gives us a very good romantic story from start to finish.

 

Drama: Carol shows the difficultly of being involved in this type of relationship during the 1950s.

Romance: Carol has a beautiful romantic story that goes through all the problems that could be around during the time period.

Chemistry: Carol shows great chemistry between Cate and Rooney.

Music: Carol uses the music very well through the whole film.

Settings: Carol creates the settings that make you feel like in the 1950s from start to finish.

Suggestion: Carol is one to watch but I do understand that some people will find this not their cup of tea. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Cate and Rooney’s performances.

Worst Part: Subject isn’t for everyone.

 

Believability: While the story is fictional the difficulties would have be true.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 5 Golden Globes including Best Picture Two Best Actress and Best Director.

Oscar Chances: Could easily get nomination and wins when it comes to Oscars.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: Some people change your life forever

 

Overall: Wonderful Love story against all the odds

Ratingcard