Will Smith Weekend – Collateral Beauty (2016)

Director: David Frankel

Writer: Allan Loeb (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Naomie Harris, Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore

 

Plot: Retreating from life after a tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.


Tagline – Connect to the beauty of life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overly Dramatic Study of Grief

 

Story: Collateral Beauty starts as Howard’ (Smith) business is flying, but tragedy hits his life, when his daughter dies. 2 years later, Whit (Norton), Claire (Winslet) and Simon (Pena) the partners in the business are facing difficult decision as Howard still can’t make decisions and won’t make decisions and his business is suffering.

To try to help Howard, the three partners hiring three actors Brigitte (Mirren), Amy (Knightley) and Raffi (Latimore) to visit Howard to answer the letters her has written to ‘Love’ ‘Death’ and ‘Time’ each while dealing with their own problems. Can this idea fix the problems in Howard’s life to help him move on and accept the truth.

 

Thoughts on Collateral Beauty

 

Characters – Howard is a successful businessman, he is on top of the world, until his daughter dies. Now he spends his time at work building domino structures avoiding human contact and writing letters to Love, Death and Time, hoping for answers to help him deal with his grief. Whit is one of the business partners with Will, though he gave up part of his share in the couple because of his own mistakes in love, as he must pay off his ex-wife. Claire is another member of the business that int fully behind the idea, though we rarely learn anything else about her. Simon is the final member of the three that hire the actors, he does have his own questions to ask about life. Brigitte, Amy and Raffi are the actors that take the job of playing Love, Death and Time, each shows the character that Howard must talk to, to understand the grief he is going through. Madeline runs a support group for parents that have lost children, much like herself, she does try to get through to Howard in a simpler way compared to the friends.

PerformancesThis is a film that is hard to criticise the performances from any of the actors, the questions come from the amount of screen time certain actors are given. Will Smith gives up his normal charismatic performance to make us believe us that a man that would be filled with confidence could feel after losing everything. Edward Norton, Kate Winslet and Michael Pena show the sacrifices people would have made in business. Helen Mirren does look like she is enjoying her role the most, while Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore show they are great at rounding off this cast. Naomie Harris’ performance can’t be overlook either with the impact in the final scene.

StoryThe story here shows us how one man has struggled with the grief of losing his daughter with his business partners needing to find a way to push him out of the hole he has created. This does pose the question of just what is time, love and death mean when you lose a loved one, it may well have too many side arcs because each of the partners has a story that need to be addressed which don’t get enough time to make the impact needed, compared to the story that Howard is going through. The way grief is shown in this film is strong because people would create barriers in life which would only push people away in the time you most need someone around you.

RomanceWhile romance might be the wrong genre for most of the film, it does show us how love can be ruined when a tragedy strikes.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which is used very well because it shows us just how many different people you could run into along your day.


Scene of the Movie –
Christmas Eve.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Each of the partners has a problem in their life, which only gets skipped over.

Final ThoughtsThis is an overly dramatic story of grief which wants to take focus on the idea that people have closed off from life.

 

Overall: Grief shown strongly.

Rating

 

 

Atonement (2007)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Christopher Hampton (Screenplay) Ian McEwan (Novel)

Starring: James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Juno Temple, Brenda Blethyn, Benedict Cumberbatch

 

Plot: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit.


Tagline – Joined by love. Separated by fear. Redeemed by hope

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull and Uninspiring

 

Story: Atonement starts when young Briony Tallis (Ronan) keeps seeing events between her older sister Cecilia (Knightley) and her lover Robbie Turner (McAvoy) from an angle she couldn’t understand believing he is hurting her. Keeping this secret until her cousin Lola (Temple) is raped in the middle of the night, she believes it was Robbie who committed the crime.

4 years later the lives of these people have changed, Robbie is now in the army World War II. Cecilia is still waiting for Robbie, though the effects of that night 4 years ago will never be forgotten between the people involved.

 

Thoughts on Atonement

 

Characters – Robbie Turner is the son of the housekeeper for the Tallis family, he was given an education while starting a romance with eldest daughter Cecilia. When things start getting steamy a misunderstanding derail he life, leaving him going to war and forever wondering what really could have been. Cecilia is the eldest daughter of the family she is involved in a romance with Robbie which is what she has been waiting for, for years, she doesn’t believe the stories against him either. Briony is the younger daughter that misread the situations she sees her sister in, she is the one that uses her creative mind to make stories, one of which would tear the lives apart, she will now spend the time making up for her mistake.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are never going to be in doubt, because we have top class actors. McAvoy shines as the shunned man forced into war, Knightley as the woman who loses her true love to a mistake and young Saoirse Ronan showing us just how talented she was going to become.

StoryThe story here follows one moment in a group of people’s lives which gets misread and tears them apart forever, one tries to rebuild the bridges broken though the damage is done. We do follow three lives that have been changed which seems like it is meant to be important though by then you are just not looking to care about what happened because we didn’t get enough time focusing on the aftermath of the incident.

Mystery/RomanceThere is a mystery, which focuses on who was really the person to be raping Lola, though we don’t investigate this, the romance shows us the damaging effects of a false accusation on two people who are meant to be together.

SettingsThe film is set in England, the first part is just rich country home, when we hit the war side of the film things get more difficult because we see the struggles of war.


Scene of the Movie –
Dunkirk beach.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Isn’t the most interesting story.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the duller period pieces that shows us just how many lives can be affected by a false accusation, we have great performances, though they don’t seem to have much to do.

 

Overall: Not a fan of this one.

Rating

 

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)

Director: Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg

Writer: Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay) Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert (Characters)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Orland Bloom, Keira Knightley

 

Plot: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Better Than Expected

 

Story: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge starts as a young Henry Turner visiting and promising to break the curse on his father Will Turner (Bloom) against his father’s wishes because it means finding Jack Sparrow (Depp).

Move forward nine years and Henry (Thwaites) in part of the British Navy hunting down pirates in search of Jack Sparrow, when his ship heads into the Devil’s Triangle they find themselves attacked by the ghost Captain Salazar (Bardem), a man in search for Jack Sparrow who cursed his crew.

Finding himself locked up, Henry learns he is on the same island as Jack Sparrow and sets out on finding him as well as an astronomer Carina (Scodelario) who gets treated like a witch because of knowledge. The three team up with Jack’s crew to search for Poseidon’s Trident the one object that can break all curses in the ocean.

With Captain Salazar terrorising the ocean he joins the current ruler of the ocean Captain Barbossa (Rush) in the hunt for Jack as the pirates do battle to break the curses over the ocean.

 

Thoughts on Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

 

Characters/PerformanceCaptain Jack is back, but this time we get a mix of what we expect from the style of the character at times being fun and over times feeling like a parody of himself. Captain Salazar is a good additional villain to this franchise because he was once a man doing the right thing but now hunts the seas for any victim. Captain Barbossa does have the best story arc in this film as we see how he has become the wealthiest pirate at sea and always stays one step ahead of everyone else. Henry is good for this film because it brings us back into the original characters origins learning about Will Turner and now his son, even if the character feels just like a copy of his father, Carina is written to be a strong independent woman in the time of the film which she is but she does also turn into the normal damsel in distress when it comes to conflict moments.

Performance Wise, Johnny Depp does feel like he is doing what you expect but does have moments of parody. Javier Bardem is good and enjoys the villainous role. Rush continues to be good without excelling, Brenton and Kaya are good addition but they do feel like they were just creating a new version of Bloom of Knightley.

StoryOne of the strongest points of any pirates movie is being able to tell us a continuing story, Black Pearl entered us into this world very nicely and the next two chapters continued the story along building on the characters legacy, when it came to Stranger Tides things went off the rails and the film came off boring. This story brings us back to the original arcs and continues to build on them like we enjoy seeing. This isn’t the overall best but it certainly isn’t the worst of the Pirates films and if you enjoyed the stories in the first couple you will enjoy this one.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action is all fun, we get a couple of rip off ideas from bigger action franchises, most notable the bank heist, the sword fighting is fine but does become inconstant by the end of the film as ghosts can’t have sword fights. the adventure is the highlight here because this time you do feel like you are back where you want to be. The fantasy side of the film continues on nicely as we dive into the myths of the ocean.

SettingsEach setting looks perfect for a pirates film as we can continue to enjoy the visual experience of a pirates movie.

Special EffectsThe special effects are good, I did like how the deliberate slow flow of Salazar’s hair almost becomes a characteristic of its own too.

Final ThoughtsSure this film will get slammed but it doesn’t need to be, if you just go in look for some fun you will find yourself enjoying this one enough.

 

Overall: Sit back, switch your brain of and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Michael Fassbender Weekend – A Dangerous Method (2011)

dangerousDirector: David Cronenberg

Writer: Christopher Hampton (Screenplay) John Kerr (Book)

Starring: Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon

 

Plot: A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow and Confusing Biographical

 

Story: A Dangerous Method starts as Sabine Spielrein (Knightley) is to an asylum where she is treated by Carl Jung (Fassbender) for her irrational reaction to any stimulation. In the search for answers Carl turns to Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) who has been an expert in the sexual disorders people are meant to have.

Once Carl gets to the bottom of Sabine’s case he finds himself learn from one of his patients Otto Gross (Cassel) who teaches him to he should be more sexually adventurous and his former patient Sabine is also now ready to embrace her issues. With all this going on Carl learns more from Freud about expressing his sexual side.

A Dangerous Method tries to tell the story of three famous scientific minds, sadly this only seems to show the difference they had through a difficult time in history. I found myself wondering what we were learning about as a lot of the dialogue feels very cloggy throughout. This really disappoints as a film which should be a lot more interesting.

 

Actor Review

 

Keira Knightley: Sabina is considered an ill young woman who is struggling with a fantasist that Carl Jung is treating, when he discovers the problem she becomes his mistress and moving towards living a normal life. She uses her newly discovered knowledge to get her way. Keira is solid in this role but never convinces.sabina

Viggo Mortensen: Sigmund Freud is the famous doctor that Carl Jung turns to for advice with dealing with his latest patient Sabina. He gives father like advice to Carl which becomes the opposite to what Carl thinks. Viggo makes for a good Freud but I do feel something was missing in his performance.frued

Michael Fassbender: Carl Jung is the doctor who is treating Sabina, he ends up going through Sigmund Freud to learn about what the problems are where to two become friends but also against each other’s opinions. He also gets involved with Sabina as he has his eyes opened sexually. Michael is good in the leading role but like the rest I feel is missing something.car

Vincent Cassel: Otto Gross is a patient that opens the eyes of Carl, he is seductive with how he speaks, after talking to Carl we see a different side of him. Vincent gives us a solid supporting performance I wish we could have seen more from.

Support Cast: A Dangerous Method doesn’t really have the biggest supporting cast and the ones we do meet sometimes feel almost pointless.

Director Review: David CronenbergDavid is a director we all have high expectations of but this really was a let-down.

 

Biographical: A Dangerous Method only teaches us the very basic about three very famous scientific minds.

Settings: A Dangerous Method re-creates the settings for this time period all looking very good.

Suggestion: A Dangerous Method is one to miss really, it doesn’t come off with the highest interest levels. (Miss It)

 

Best Part: Settings look great.

Worst Part: We don’t learn enough about the characters.

 

Believability: Based on the real people.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Tagline: Based on the true story of Jung, Freud and the patient who came between them.

 

Overall: Dull biopic really.

Ratingcard

Keira Knightley Weekend – The Jacket (2005)

jackeDirector: John Maybury

Writer: Massy Tadjedin (Screenplay) Tom Bleecker, Marc Rocco (Story)

Starring: Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Lynch, Brad Renfro, Daniel Craig, Steven Mackintosh

 

Plot: A Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a Doctor’s experiments, and his life is completely affected by them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Confusing Time Travel Film

 

Story: The Jacket starts when 27-year-old soldier Jack (Brody) in Iraq gets hot and killed in action, well so he thought. One year later he ends up inside a mental institute for a murder he doesn’t remember committing. Jack gets put through an extreme treatment program which leads to him being locked up in a straitjacket in the morgue.

When he awakes he finds himself wondering around the streets picked up by Jackie Price (Knightley) who just so happens to be the very little girl he met 15 years earlier on the day of the murder he is meant to have committed. Somehow he has travelled through time ten years and now Jack finds himself time hopping between time periods trying to put the pieces together and prevent his own death.

The Jacket gives us a time travel film that has to have certain comparison to Jacob’s Ladder, but not for the good reasons. We have a war veteran that gets stuck in a time hop where he can learn to change his present after visiting the future. He wants to change the world for the people who help him but ultimately he would like to save his own life. I see a lot of issues with this story, mainly the reason he gets locked up never gets solved or changed if he can change time. I also found the random time hop never really made sense because we never learn how it happens. There are plenty of holes that need filling in this one as it just doesn’t capture the idea of what it is trying to do.

 

Actor Review

 

Adrien Brody: Jack Starks is the Gulf war veteran who gets wrongfully locked up in a mental institute, while in there he goes through extreme treatment that leads to him going into the future where he must figure out a way to prevent his own death in the past. Adrien is good but doesn’t reach all the levels we know he is capable of.

Keira Knightley: Jackie Price is the young lady Jack meets when he goes into the future, he met a younger version of her in 1992 but in the future she must work with him to uncover what really happened with his death in the past. Keira gives us a good supporting performance without being anything special.

Kris Kristofferson: Dr Becker is the controversial Doctor at the institute, he uses methods that are against any ethical code and his patient getting the newest amount of his treatment is Jack. Kris is good as this doctor but we would like to see a lot more from his character.

Jennifer Jason Leigh: Dr Lorenson is another doctor at the hospital, she sees that not everything is running the way it should and understands that Jack isn’t as mental ill as the rest believe him to be. She is working on a private case which Jack ends up becoming a key part of. Jennifer gives us a strong supporting performance.

Support Cast: The Jacket has a good supporting cast without being too involved with Daniel Craig really stealing most scenes.

Director Review: John MayburyJohn doesn’t give us the best time travel like thriller that keeps us wondering without giving us all the answers.

 

Horror: The Jacket puts us into the horror of not knowing what is going on with his mind-set.

Mystery: The Jacket does try to keep you guessing through the film without giving us much hope of getting anything right.

Sci-Fi: The Jacket gives us a time travel idea without ever looking into what is happening in depth.

Settings: The Jacket doesn’t give us any stand out settings, we have moments in the mental institute otherwise it is just random outside locations.
Special Effects
: The Jacket has good effects when needed.

Suggestion: The Jacket is one to try, it does get a little bit confusing though. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Locked up scenes are good.

Worst Part: Slightly too confusing.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Jacob’s Ladder

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $29 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: the first one is hard, then comes easy

 

Overall: Time travel like film that is filled with confusing and plenty of unanswered questions.

Ratingcard