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

 

 

Marion Cotillard Weekend – Rust and Bone (2012)

Director: Jacques Audiard

Writer: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain (Screenplay) Craig Davidson (Story)

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure, Celine Sallette, Corinne Masiero, Bouli Lanners

 

Plot: Put in charge of his young son, Alain leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Alain’s bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beautiful Drama

 

Story: Rust and Bone starts Alain (Schoenaraerts) moves to start a new life with his son Sam (Verdure), he moves in with his sister Anna (Masiero) until he can put enough money together. Working as a bouncer he meets Stephanie (Cotillard) after a brawl at his club. The two become friends after Stephanie a worker with killer whales suffers a tragic accident losing both her legs leaving her in deep depression. As Alain finds a way to bring the life back into Stephanie he looks to improve his financial situation by entering a kick boxing tournament which could help himself and Sam find their own place. The closer the two get the happier Stephanie finds herself with her new chance at life showing you can get anything out of a tragic event.

 

Thoughts on Rust and Bone

 

Characters/PerformanceStephanie works in an ocean tour park with killer whales but when she is involved in an accident she finds herself needing to start her life again. She dives into depression but a new friendship offers her a new look on life. Alain is a single parent not having much luck on the job front and ends up getting involved in underground fighter for quick money. He befriends Stephanie as he gets to see another way of life where he could settle down giving his son a stable future.

Marion continues to show her ability as an actress with this brilliant performance showing all the emotional levels need for her character. Matthias also goes a fantastic job here showing he is just as capable as Marion.

StoryThe story shows how two people can overcome problems in their lives, be it Stephanie’s life changing injuries or Alain needing to make a life for his young son. With this we get to see how a relationship between these two can motivate the two to make more of their lives and still enjoy the rest of their lives. It shows how you can’t let anything stop you doing what you want in your life.

Romance The romantic side of the film comes from the potential relationship the two could find themselves in, Stephanie wants something serious while Alain is happy sleeping around but can they put this aside and fall in love.

SettingsWhen you look at the settings most of this film is considered normal for the most part, they all have simple and do what they need without being anything special.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully shot drama that gives us two heavyweight performances and a story that shows you can overcome any injury suffered.

 

Overall: Wonderful film for all the drama fans out there to go and watch.

Rating

 

 

The Loft (2014)

loftDirector: Erik Van Looy

Writer: Wesley Strick (Screenplay) Bart De Pauw (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Isabel Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Rhone Mitra, Valerie Cruz, Kali Rocha, Elaine Cassidy

 

Plot: Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Who Dun It?

 

Story: The Loft starts with Vincent (Urban) being questioned by the police where he has to explain the events from within the Loft. Luke (Miller) returns to the loft where he finds a dead body of a girl in the apartment. We continue to meet the rest of the friends who pay for the loft Chris (Marsden), Marty (Stonestreet) and Philip (Schoenaerts).  We flashback to a year ago when the men use the loft and the agreement they all end up being able to use the loft whenever they want.

We flash between the beginnings of the loft as the guys enjoy the idea of being able to cheat on their wives without having to get caught. The surprises they uncover from the loft about which one of them killed the girl in the loft and the police investigation about what really happened.guys

The Loft gives us a massive who dun it story going on between friends, saying this it is annoying having to jump between the time lines. Another part of this film that really disappoints is the final reveal as we have no idea while the characters involved know where the story is going. This story is a bad example for how to act while married with all the men just looking to cheat on their wives. The story does have plenty of twists for us the audience to watch unfold but I do feel the re-watch value is going to be weak.

 

Actor Review

 

Karl Urban: Vincent is the architect that has designed the building and came up with the idea between the friends to have the loft. He has been controlling what is happening with his rules, he can have any woman who gives him a glance but this time it is his flame that could expose all the men. Karl is good in this role which is full of his charm throughout.

James Marsden: Chris is a doctor who is one of the guys who owns a key to the loft, he falls for a woman while leaving his wife at home as well as having to deal with his aggressive step-brother who is also a member of the loft. James is good even if we would have liked to have seen slightly more from his character.

Wentworth Miller: Luke is a member of the exclusive group that can use the loft, he never wants to cheat on his while in the loft. He is the one that finds the body while has his own secret up his selves. Wentworth is good as we don’t fully know enough about his character but for a good reason.

Eric Stonestreet: Marty is the loud mouth of the group, he always ends up biting off more than he can chew and could easily be the one that spills the beans. Eric is good in this role because we see him as the bumbling character.

Matthias Schoenaerts: Philip is the aggressive step-brother of Chris who marries into a rich family but has a drug problem which could also expose the truth. Matthias brings the aggressive character to the table which works next to the calmer characters in the leading role.

Support Cast: The Loft has a supporting cast which mostly includes the wives and girlfriends of the characters involved in being part of the loft.

Director Review: Erik Van LooyErik gives us a good mystery thriller that keeps us guessing throughout.

 

Mystery: The Loft keeps us guessing throughout the film as we wonder who actually is responsible for the death.

Romance: The Loft shows the dark side of love with cheats on loved ones.

Thriller: The Loft makes you wonder what happened to the characters involved.

Settings: The Loft puts one part of the story in the loft as the group figure out what happened while the rest are involved with how the characters got to the stage we find them in.

Suggestion: The Loft is one to try it might be on to enjoy but it isn’t a classic. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Mystery

Worst Part: By the end you will question certain parts of the film.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $14 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: The right place to do wrong

 

Overall: Mystery thriller that keeps us wondering from start to finish even with a nap in the middle.

Ratingcard

Oscar Season Challenge – The Danish Girl (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.danishDirector: Tom Hooper

Writer: Lucinda Coxon (Screenplay) David Ebershoff (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Eddie Redmayne, Tusse Silberg, Adrian Schiller, Amber Heard, Emerald Fennel, Ben Whishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts

 

Plot: A fictitious love story inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Inspiring Story

 

Story: The Danish Girl starts in Copenhagen 1926 with artists Gerda (Vikander) and Einar (Redmayne) a married couple whose relationship is different to everyone else for the time period. Einar has a fascination with dressing as a woman that his wife embraces it for a night turning Einar into Lili. Things get complicated when Einar decides that he enjoys dressing like the woman against his wives wishes at first.

When Lili makes Gerda a bigger name in the art world the couple move to Paris as Einar struggles with his art work an old friend and now current art dealer Hans Axgil (Schoenaerts) gives them a chance to push him back into the art world. As Einar embraces his Lili side we get to see how Gerda is struggling with it but in the end we see how Einar was one of the pioneers in transgender decision making.

The Danish Girl shows the inspiration story showing how one man’s determination to be transformed into a woman gained the movement which is popular today. How Einar got to the moment of transformation shows how naïve humans were to this issue back in the 1920s as they tried to make him a mental patient. This really is a difficult watch because the subject matter is something people will not want to see. Overall the story really is inspiration for anyone who is going through the same mind set.

 

Actor Review

 

Alicia Vikander: Gerda is the Danish artist married to Einar who wants to support her husband even as he is going through his identity crisis, she uses his new identity to grow her art work but then supports him as he searches for the final transformation. Alicia gives us an incredible performance in this role.gerda

Eddie Redmayne: Einar/Lili, Einar is the Danish artist married to Gerda, he has a fascination with dressing and being a woman, enter Lili his female side that he starts by flaunting at party before it takes over and Lili becomes the real person as one of the first transgender in the world. Eddie gives us a stunning performance showing the transformation needed for the role.lili

Ben Whishaw: Henrik is the young man that Lili attracts but Lili doesn’t know how to deal with any relationship. Ben gives us a good supporting performance without getting too much screen time.

Amber Heard: Ulla is a friend of the couple, she encourages them to just both be happy and tries to help with the situation. Amber gives us a good supporting performance.

Support Cast: The Danish Girl has a good supporting cast that all offer Einar a chance to get his dream.

Director Review: Tom HooperTom gives us yet another brilliant period piece that will get all the praise is deserves.

 

Biographical: The Danish Girl shows the incredible story behind one of the world’s first transgender.

Romance: The Danish Girl shows the love between Einar and Gerda even going through the personal decision Einar wanted to make.

Chemistry: The Danish Girl Einar and Gerda have brilliant chemistry through the film.

Settings: The Danish Girl creates the settings to make us feel like we are in the current time period of each country they go to.

Suggestion: The Danish Girl is one film I would say watch even if it does have its difficult moments for the casual fan. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Redmayne and Vikander’s performances.

Worst Part: Difficult subject matter.

Favourite Quote: Henrik ‘I’ve only know a few people in my life and you’ve been two of them’.

 

Believability: Based on the real people involved.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Actor/Actress and Original Score

Oscar Chances: Will be up for nomination.

Budget: $25 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

Tagline: Find the courage to be yourself.

 

Overall: Inspiring story about making the change for yourself

Ratingcard

The Drop (2014)

logoDirector: Michael R. Roskam

Writer: Dennis Lehane (Screenplay) Dennis Lehane (Short Story)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Michael Aronov, Morgan Spector, Michael Esper

 

Plot: Bob Saginowski finds himself at the centre of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighbourhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living – no matter the cost.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Atmospheric Thriller

 

Story: The Drop starts with Bob (Hardy) explaining how things work in Brooklyn where the dirty money can be put into a bar without any notice. Bob just works in one of those bars, he has his regulars and is still mourning the loss of a close friend ten years before. We learn that Bob is a good natured guy who goes to church and will give people a break along with saving an innocent dog from the trash. This leads Bob to meet Nadia (Rapace) who help look after the injured puppy.

When two robberies decide to hold up the bar owned by Cousin Marv (Gandolfini) leaving with money owed to the gangs that use the bar as a drop point. Chovka (Aronov) wants his money back and threatens Marv and Bob until they find the money. We soon learn that not everything is as it seems with the robbery and all the people involved have a personal agenda. Bob’s new puppy seems to getting the attention of the wrong people including Eddie Deeds (Schoenaerts) who could be the man who killed Bob’s old friend.

The Drop is a slow moving but very atmospheric thriller that really does keep you wondering what will happen next. The story manages to balance a couple of different stories together that also intertwine together works very nicely. I feel this holds back too much on the Bob character and through the film we are made to believe he is a simple man while he has a lot more to his character. The film manages to keep nearly every character looking shady without meeting the main villains as we only see they are part of a bigger event going on. I do think you will need to be a fan of the genre to enjoy this one though. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Tom Hardy: Bob kind bar tender that ends up caught in the middle of the gang robbery along with his new puppy, he always tries to do right by people while trying to let the situation solve itself. Tom gives a good performance but you would expect that from him now days. (7/10)

 bob

Noomi Rapace: Nadia is the lady that Bob meets when he finds the stranded puppy, overtime the two become friends and joint guardians of the puppy. Nadia does give a good supporting performance but we don’t see enough of the romantic angle. (7/10)

nadia

James Gandolfini: Cousin Marv the man who runs the bar who has secretly been planning to rob his own bar when the gang’s money gets dropped off. James does a good job in his last film playing his traditional gangster role well. (7/10)

 marv

Matthias Schoenaerts: Eric Deeds the estranged ex of Nadia’s who starts turning up too often in Bob’s life, he claims to have been involved in the murder of one of Bob’s friends many years earlier. Matthias would be the smallest name of the main four characters and he matches them on screen too. (7/10)

 eric

Support Cast: The Drop has supporting cast that includes the people who want the money, the people who took the money and the cops looking for answers. They all keep you guessing to who is involved with what.

 

Director Review: Michael R. Roskam – Michael does a good job directing making us get pulled in from start to finish. (8/10)

 

Crime: The Drop enters us into a real crime world where nearly everyone is up to something they shouldn’t be. (9/10)

Thriller: The Drop really does keep you wondering about what will happen next. (9/10)

Settings: The Drop is set in Brooklyn giving it a rough around the edges feel all the way through. (9/10)

Suggestion: The Drop is one to watch it you enjoy the genre otherwise you may not enjoy it as much as you would. (Crime Thriller Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Rocco and Bob.

Worst Part: The fact Bob isn’t as strong as we think.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Most Crime gangster thrillers.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $18.5 Million

Budget: $12.6 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

Overall: The Drop is one of the best atmospheric thrillers that really keeps your attention from start to finish.

Rating 74