The Messenger (2009)

messangerDirector: Oren Moverman

Writer: Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Foster, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker, Woody Harrelson, Yaya DaCosta, Portia, Lisa Joyce, Steve Buscemi, Peter Francis James, Samantha Morton


Plot: An American soldier struggles with an ethical dilemma when he becomes involved with a widow of a fallen officer.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Powerful


Story: The Messenger starts as we meet Staff Sergeant Montgomery (Foster) who is open to having affairs as we see with Kelly (Malone). With time running out on his time in the army he gets re-assigned by Colonel Dorsett (Walker) to the notification of death under Captain Stone (Harrelson) showing him the ropes.

We get to see how difficult the job is for the two men as we see different reactions to the news before Montgomery starts to fall in love with one of the widows he informs about her husband’s death Olivia (Morton). The two don’t know how to handle what people will think and Stone is against any involvement in getting involved with anyone they inform the news to.infomrer

The Messenger gives us a look into the world of the soldiers that have to inform loved one that their soldiers have died while serving their country. This alone is a difficult subject to cover and to witness how these men have to go through this each time one of their own dies. We also get to look through how both men have troubles in their lives and want to handle them in a different way. I will say this is a difficult story to go through because the if the subject is close to heart this will be hard to see. Overall this is a story that needs to be told because we sometimes forget that the heroes of war will leave people behind that will have to get through the sudden reaction of losing them.


Actor Review


Ben Foster: Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery is an injured soldier whose time is running out in the army, he can’t go back into combat so he gets re-assigned to the notification department because of his strong character. He learns how to handle the situations but ends up breaking one of the rules by getting involved with one of the widows he informs. Ben shows just how good he is in this role which could easily be the best of his career to date.

Jena Malone: Kelly is the girl Will grew up with, they are clearly in love but she didn’t wait for him. The two do meet for flings on the side but in the end we don’t understand how the two act. Jena is solid in this supporting role but it is nothing more than that.

Samantha Morton: Olivia Pitterson is the widow that the two inform of her husband’s death but Will wants to help her out around the house. We see how she gets torn with whether to get involved with Will or continue grieving her husband. Samantha is great in this supporting role showing us just how easy these roles come to her.

Woody Harrelson: Captain Tony Stone is showing Will the ropes for this notification role. He knows the role and how to handle each outcome and reaction from the people they are informing. He doesn’t like how Will is approaching the job in a different way to him which causes tension between the two. Woody is brilliant in this role showing why he is one of the most trusted actors in Hollywood.

Support Cast: The Messenger has a supporting cast which does have a few big names with Steve Buscemi being one of the men informed the news of the loss of his son, most of the supporting cast are people the two have to inform that all give different and real reaction to the news.

Director Review: Oren MovermanOren gives us a very powerful film that shows the difficult side of the war in Iraq.


Romance: The Messenger shows how forbidden love can have an effect on the lives it leaves out characters in.

War: The Messenger looks at the side of war that no one wants to learn about with it being dealing with breaking the news of the deaths of family members.

Settings: The Messenger shows us just where the different families will be living during the time their loved ones are at war making each location look like an everyday location.

Suggestion: The Messenger is one film I do think everyone should watch at least once just to see how difficult the notification of a fallen soldier is. (Watch)


Best Part: Foster and Harrelson are brilliant.

Worst Part: Kelly doesn’t feel like a developed enough character.


Believability: While this story is fictional the job, and the reaction could all be real.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes


Overall: Powerful story on difficult subject.




Taylor Kitsch Weekend – John Carter (2012)

posterDirector: Andrew Stanton

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon (Screenplay) Edgar Rice Burroughs (Story)

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston


Plot: Transported to Barsoom, a Civil War vet discovers a barren planet seemingly inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter Woola and a princess in desperate need of a savior.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Very Enjoyable


Story: John Carter starts by giving us the backstory of Barsoom known to us as Mars where a peaceful life is turned upside down. We move to 1880s where John Carter (Kitsch) is avoiding by captured but leaving his story to his nephew Edgar Burroughs (Sabara). In his story John tells how he was transported to Barsoom while avoiding his time in the army.

John finds himself captured by Tars Tarkas (Dafoe) and his barbarians as he finds himself in the middle of a war where Matai Shang (Strong) is leading Sab Than (West) in a quest to take over the planet. Sab has made a deal to marry the princess Dejah (Collins) to create peace between the opposing sides.

John Carter must lead the fight against Sab Than to save the princess and free the people of Barsoom from his terror bringing peace back to the planet once more.

John Carter is a film that I avoided for years having only heard negative things about it but now I have gotten around to watching it I found myself enjoying this one. I will say there are good and bad things about this story so we will start with the good. I liked how the story reflected the Earth story with Mars, we had a reluctant hero that learnt to stand up for himself proving he isn’t the coward the Earth through he was. On the bad side we do spend slightly too long building up to the transportation to Mars, we also do spend too much looking at the jumping ability Carter has. I did find the final twist very smart and fitting for the film ready for any sequel too. This is a very good story that can be enjoyed.


Actor Review


Taylor Kitsch: John Carter is from 1860s, he doesn’t want to get involved in the war going on in America only to find himself transported to Mars where his ability to jump and fight put him in the middle of a war on Mars. He must lead the people in a fight for peace. Taylor proves he is a good actor with this role that could have been a lot more successful.john

Lynn Collins: Dejah Thoris is the princess of Mars, she is forced to wed the evil tyrant taking over the planet but when she meets John Carter she learns that he could be the one to save her and her people. Lynn is good in this role without being too original in character.princess

Samantha Morton: Sola is the daughter of Tars, she has been disgraced by her species her only chance to redeem herself if to help John Carter on his mission to create peace on the planet. Samantha is good in this role even if we would have like to have seen more from the character.sola

Willem Dafoe: Tars Tarkas is the leader of the barbarians that first find John Carter, he believes John Carter has something different about him and uses him to help with his leadership even if it leaves him against his kind. Willem gives us the performance we have all come to know from the actor.

Support Cast: John Carter has a huge supporting cast that all give good performances when it comes to the final story.

Director Review: Andrew StantonAndrew gives us a good sci-fi action film that is all enjoyable without being too difficult to watch.


Action: John Carter has good action sequences throughout with most being massive battle scenes.

Adventure: John Carter puts our character John Carter on an adventure of a lifetime.

Fantasy: John Carter brings us into a fantasy world on Mars.

Sci-Fi: John Carter takes us to Mars and has an impossible travel idea for the sci-fi side of the story.

Settings: John Carter creates a beautiful looking setting for the story to take place in on Mars.
Special Effects
: John Carter has great effects to create the mixes of species involved in the story on Mars.

Suggestion: John Carter is one that should actually be tried by all. (Try It)


Best Part: Mars side of the story.

Worst Part: What is with all the jumping?


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: It could have one but poor Box Office returns means we won’t get one.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $263 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Tagline:  Lost in Our World. Found in Another.


Overall: Enjoyable sci-fi adventure that comes off fresh


Trailer Alert – The Harvest

Plot – A couple who keeps their sick son in a secluded environment find their controlled lives challenged by a young girl who moves in next door.

Release Date: Non Set for UK


  • Samantha Morton (In America)
  • Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)
  • Natasha Calis (The Possession)
  • Charlie Tahan (I Am Legend)
  • Peter Fonda (Easy Rider)


Director: John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer)

Highlight of the Trailer: Mystery is still kept like that.

What Looks Good? Concept looks interesting without giving everything away.

What Looks Bad? It was made in 2013 what is the hold up?

Summary: Any film that gets it’s released delayed really puts a big question mark over how good it really will be. I do like the idea that looks like it is filled with twists and turns that will keep us guessing.


Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating – 70%

My Guess Rating – 60%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Minority Report (2002)

logoDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Scott Frank, Jon Cohen (Screenplay) Philip K. Dick (Short Story)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Max Von Sydow, Steve Harris, Neal McDonough, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Peter Stormare


Plot: In the year 2054 crime is virtually eliminated from Washington D.C. thanks to an elite law enforcement squad ‘Precrime’. They use three gifted humans known as Pre-Cogs with special powers to see into the future and predict crimes beforehand. John Anderton (Cruise) heads precrime and believes the system’s flawlessness steadfastly. However one day the Pre-cogs predict that Anderton will commit a murder himself in the next 35 hours. Worse, Anderton doesn’t even know the victim. He decides to get to the mystery’s core by finding out the ‘Minority Report’ which means the predictions of the female Pre-Cog Agatha that might tell a different story and prove Anderton’s innocent.


Verdict: Good Sci-fi Action Thriller


Story: A world with no murder, seems like a peaceful place right? This story plays on the idea of this going national and is under supervision to make sure it works without error. We get the idea that one crime could be faked and another is to be committed but involving people who don’t know each other. We have the one man crusade to prove he couldn’t commit a murder to someone he doesn’t know. Mix it all together you get a thriller that shows what seems like a perfect system has flaws in it. Think ‘The Fugitive’ in the future with technology to make running harder. (8/10)


Actor Reviews


Tom Cruise: John Anderton the chief of the Pre-Crime division who is haunted by the loss of his son before it was created and works every day to make sure no one else suffers the same loss he did. Once his name comes up as the murderer he goes on the run to prove he couldn’t commit the crime but what he discovers can change everything he has worked for. Good lead performance from Tom, just want you expect from him. (9/10)


Max Von Sydow: Director Lamar Burgess the creator of the pre-crime division who seems John like a son, he is trying to turn it into a national idea. Good support performance showing a typical business man. (8/10)


Colin Farrell: Danny Witwer is sent to make sure everything is running smoothly with the division, but what he finds could bring the system down and once John’s name comes up he sets out in pursuit of the man. Good performance from Farrell showing he can play a between the lines character. (8/10)


Neal McDonough: Fletcher John’s second in commander who is trying to bring him in, but his personal connection is making it harder to achieve. Good supporting performance showing he can play good after a string of villainous roles. (7/10)


Samantha Morton: Agatha one of the pre-cogs and the smartest one at that she has the most visions and the most detail in them. Good support performance.(7/10)


Director Review: Steven Spielberg – You know what you are going to get when you see the name Spielberg and you won’t be disappointed here. (9/10)


Action: Great sci-fi action throughout. (9/10)

Mystery: Just watching to solve the mystery and keeping the guessing going until the end really works for this film. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Good look into the future using technologies that are starting to be used now like touch screen and eye detections. (10/10)

Thriller: Keeps you guessing from start to finish. (9/10)

Settings: Stunning settings created to make the world of the future still have a human touch. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Brilliant special effects used throughout, with the world creation and the technologies. (10/10)

Suggestion: If you like the genre you will enjoy, but I feel if you don’t like the ideas you may struggle to get into the film. (Sci-Fi Action Fans Watch)


Best Part: The escape in the car factory.

Worst Part: The moral questions behind the story.

Action Scene Of The Film: The ally way escape.

Believability: With some of the technologies coming into our world gives us a feel of realism but the rest seems too much to date. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: The Fugitive


Oscar Chances: Nominated for One Oscar

Box Office: $358,372,926

Budget: $102 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

Tagline: You Can’t Hide


Overall: Great Sci-Fi Action Thriller That Makes You Think

Rating 86