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

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Hannibal Rising (2007)

Director: Peter Webber

Writer: Thomas Harris (Screenplay) Thomas Harris (Novel)

Starring: Gaspard Ulliel, Rhys Ifans, Li Gong, Dominic West, Kevin McKidd

 

Plot: After the death of his parents during World War II, young Hannibal Lecter moves in with his beautiful aunt and begins plotting revenge on the barbarians responsible for his sister’s death.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Prequel That Doesn’t Click

 

Story: Hannibal Rising starts when we meet a young Hannibal, his family live in a castle in Lithuania during World War II. When the war comes to their home they try to ride it out in the cabin in the woods but tragedy strikes and his parents are killed. Left to look after his younger sister Mischa, Hannibal finds himself trapped with evil soldier Vladis Grutas (Ifans) occupying their home and things will only get worse for him.

8 years later we see Hannibal (Ulliel) now a mute living in his castle but it is now an orphanage for the victims of war, tried of how he is being treated he escapes to find his Aunt Lady Murasaki (Gong) who takes him in, giving him a future. Hannibal studies to become a doctor and shines in that field but what he is really up to, is searching for the soldiers that are responsible for his sister’s death, so he can make them pay, which does grab the attention of war criminal inspector Popil (West) who is also wanting to make the evil pay.

 

Thoughts on Hannibal Rising

 

Characters/PerformanceHannibal is a character we all know from the Silence of the Lambs, one of the most iconic figures of film history. Now we get to learn why he was like this as we see the horrors of war leave him the lone survivor of his immediate family thanks to war horrors, he goes out to get revenge on the people responsible proving he was emotionless all along. Lady Murasaki is the Aunt that takes Hannibal in, she has lost her family through the war too and the two work together to get the revenge. Vladis Grutas is the evil soldier who used war for his own profit killing anyone who got in his way. Inspector Popil is tracking war criminals across Europe, slightly more legally than Hannibal.

Performance wise, Gaspard Ulliel is good as the emotionless killer, he shows a man with nothing left to live for. Li Gong is good but only in the smaller supporting role. Rhys Ifans always makes for a good villain and this time we get to see him in the lead villain role.

StoryThe story behind one of the great screen characters of all time will always be a test because we will be left wondering do we need to know his origin story? The answer here turns Hannibal into a full blown vigilante which could work for a fresh approach for a film but giving this to Hannibal come off feeling slightly short.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story is all in the revenge side of film as we see how Hannibal sets out to avenge his sister’s murder. The thriller tries to keep us on edge but fails to achieve this on all levels.

SettingsEach setting shows us the different places war criminals could hide out in, we get to see just how main different places Hannibal must look to find those responsible.

Special EffectsAll the effects come off very well making us truly understand what just happened with the moment of horror.

Final ThoughtsThis is a prequel that just doesn’t seem to click the way you would like it all to, we didn’t need to learn more about Hannibal’s early days, but this could be a fantastic thriller for an original character.

 

Overall: A film we didn’t need but one that could have worked.

Rating