Antono Banderas Weekend – Haywire (2011)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Lem Dobbs (Screenplay)

Starring: Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas

 

Plot: A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission.


Tagline – They left her no choice.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Action

 

Story: Haywire starts as Mallory Kane (Carano) a black ops soldier for the CIA is currently on the run after her partners Aaron (Tatum), Kenneth (McGregor), Rodrigo (Banderas) an Alex (Douglas) have set up to eliminate her. Mallory looks back on her career with the mission which things went wrong, one where she must get to know a MI6 agent Paul (Fassbender).

Mallory needs to bring down the men who have been setting her up, while finding the only person she can trust John (Paxton) her father, here she knows she can trust him to help her expose the corruption that is framing her.

 

Thoughts on Haywire

 

Characters – Mallory is the black ops soldier, now on the run after being set up by her own people, she uses her skills to remain ahead of them, using her combat skills to disarm the situations and tries to figure out who she can trust. This is basically a female version of Jason Bourne. Kenneth is the one the liaised on the last mission and the one that is currently after Mallory, he answers to people above his head, while control the ones below. Paul is the agent that Mallory is meant to meet, the one that she ended up coming to blows with leading to her to being chased. We have the people above Mallory that just want to see a mess cleaned up, while others are just facing orders.

PerformancesGina Carano is the star of the showing in the leading role, she handles all the action with ease and makes us believe she could be a threat for anybody who messes with her. The supporting male cast handle the heavy dialogue scenes, which takes away the one weakness Gina could have.

StoryThe story follows a black ops soldier that must clear her name, while being hunted down by the employees after a mission goes wrong. This is a style of story we have seen before, it is one that is a tried and tested formula, this way of telling the story, however, is weak, mainly because we are doing a large part of it in flashback style, which takes away any peril in the film for Mallory. We also try to get over-complicated with the motivation behind trying to frame her and by the end we don’t feel like we have experienced a tense enough action film. the music doesn’t help this movie either because it makes it feel like we are just watching slick heist movie.

ActionGina Carano does her best to save this film with her action star abilities with combat, they are the only enjoyed scenes in the film.

SettingsThe film does take us around the world for the action scenes, showing this to be a worldwide operation.


Scene of the Movie –
The hotel escape sequences.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end fight feels like just a training montage.

Final ThoughtsThis is an action film that had potential, only for it to become to average with the story, with the one highlight being Gina Carano.

 

Overall: Basic action flick.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Daniel Craig Weekend – Logan Lucky (2017)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Rebecca Blunt (Screenplay)

Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank

 

Plot: Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.


Tagline – See How The Other Half Steals

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Enough

 

Story: Logan Lucky starts as we follow Jimmy Logan (Tatum) as he loses his job and lets down his daughter, leaving his sister Mellie (Keough) getting him out of trouble, he loses his job and finds his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Holmes) is moving to the next state. Jimmy’s brother is a one-armed bar tender Clyde (Driver) after his service in Iraq, the three siblings work on a big plan in the life of crime.

Jimmy’s plan is to first break Joe Bang (Craig) out of prison to help rob the Nascar event in North Carolina, after Jimmy has learnt how the money is transferred, will this plan go through as expected?

 

Thoughts on Logan Lucky

 

Characters – Jimmy Logan has been a down on his luck when it comes to jobs, being a responsible father leving him to reach the end of his hope. Jimmy has a plan to rob the Nascar race track on race day after learning how the money is trasnffered, now he puts together his team. His is a good man just wanting the best for his family. Clyde is the brother of Jimmy, he has lost a hand in Iraq and joins his brother in the plan. Joe Bang is the best safe cracker in the south, but he is behind bars, he will work on the team with his own rules which means breaking him out and giving him explosives. Mellie is the sister of the family, she uses her looks to get out of trouble and likes to show off her knowledge of cars.

PerformancesChanning Tatum in the leading role works, he continues to show he can step away from the sex symbol he has created around himself to play the less desirable roles. Adam Drive also shows us another string to his talents in this dead pan comedy roles. Riley Keough is strong too through the film here she plays the typical redneck woman. Daniel Craig gives the best performance in the film, he gets the most laughs with his mad character that he doesn’t go over the top.

StoryThe story is a heist movie from the lower class of America, we have the characters that have fallen on hard times over the usual experienced heist going team. The story works for a heist film and follows the books as you would imagine without being anything overly original and feeling long in places. We have the scene which reveals the heist to finishes off the moments of the story we might not have picked up on earlier.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy feels dead pan for the most part and does keep the tone of the crime side of the story feeling light, which works for the style the film is going for.

SettingsThe settings work because it shows where the characters are from and how difficult their lives are.


Scene of the Movie –
Science time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels long.

Final ThoughtsSimple by the book heist film, it has moments of comedy but it ends up being nothing overly original but easily watchable.

 

Overall: Easy to watch and fun.

Rating

 

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – T – Traffic (2000)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Stephen Gaghan (Screenplay) Simon Moore (Miniseries)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Plot: A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America’s escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron’s wife attempts to carry on the family business.


Tagline – It’s a dirty, dirty war! And no one comes away clean

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Crime Thriller

 

Story: Traffic starts by following two Mexican Cops Javier Rodriguez (Del Toro) and Manolo Sanchez (Vargas) who aren’t part of the drug trafficking side of the business, though they must turn a blind eye. America is trying to clean up the drug war by hiring judge Robert Wakefield (Douglas) to take the battle to them, while DEA agents Ray Castro (Guzman) and Montel Gordon (Cheadle) are dealing with an informant. As a drug lord is taken away his wife Helena (Zeta-Jones) must deal with the consequences of her husband’s actions.

With the four sides needing to think of their futures, Javier makes a desperate decision, Robert needing to deal with his own personal problems including his daughter crack addiction, Montel wanting to be on the front line without losing more people and Helena wanting to continue her husband’s business either after being watched by the authority.

 

Thoughts on Traffic

 

Characters – Javier Rodriguez has been working on the Mexican side of the drug battle, one of the good cops that gets pressed into making a big decision which could affect his partner and his own family. Robert Wakefield is being lined up to lead the battle on the drugs from the American side of the war, his promotion is huge for his career, but his own teenage daughter has become a drug addict spiralling out of control, leaving him in the position of needing to win the war or save his family. Montel Gordon is the DEA agent that has been on the ground trying to get to the truth about who is behind the drug deals going on. Helena is the wife of the drug lord who wants to keep the business alive even after her husband is taken to jail, knowing her kids will need the money for their own futures.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good through the film, while most of the big character barely ever connect with each other, the separate performances from Bel Toro, Douglas, Zeta-Jones and Cheadle are all strong for the film.

StoryThe story here follows separate stories involved in the drug war going on between Mexican and American sides of war as see the people on the ground, the people in political officers and the dealer’s family. We do jump between the stories a lot which can make it hard to keep up with everything because the jump between them and lack of connection can be disconnecting for the audience. It does give us an insight to the drug war that is on going between the countries and how the people can be drawn to extremes to get their own fixes. The cops will be pushed too far without having any power when it comes to taking down the criminals without crossing the lines. With plenty of questions being asked it would have been nice to have more answered.

CrimeThe crime world we are thrown into shows us just how the criminal world of drugs operates be it with the deals, the legal system or the users and how the problem is looking to be solved.

SettingsThe film does take us to many different locations as we get to see how everything operates, we see the Mexican dealer’s life of luxury home, to the political offices taking on the war to the dens where the users get attracted too.


Scene of the Movie –
Seth is being excused today.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many stories going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong look at the drug war, it does have too many stories going on at once which can drag you down because each character feels like they are meant to be important in their own way.

 

Overall: Over saturated movie

Rating

 

 

Unsane (2018)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer (Screenplay)

Starring: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Amy Irving, Aimee Mullins, Polly McKie

 

Plot: A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, where she is confronted by her greatest fear–but is it real or a product of her delusion?


Tagline – Is she or isn’t she?

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tense an Disturbing

 

Story: Unsane starts as banker Sawyer Valentini (Foy) dealing with the consequences of being a victim of a stalker decides to go and see a doctor to talk through the problems, Sawyer signs the paperwork and finds herself being committed to the mental institution, trying to figure out how to get out of the institute.

As Sawyer tries to play by the rules to get out quickly, she starts to believe her stalker David (Leonard) works at the institute which doesn’t help her case about whether she is crazy or not.

 

Thoughts on Unsane

 

Characters – Sawyer is a banker that has recently moved to a new city to start a fresh life after keeping her stalker problems a secret from her mother. Just looking for help to talk to about the problem and the recovery process, she soon finds herself locked up in a mental institute where she must try and prove that she isn’t insane and to make matters worse, she believes one of the nurses is the stalker, with nobody believing her. David is going by the name George and works as a nurse in the institute, he has been following Sawyer for years now, willing to do anything to Sawyer, the biggest question mark about this character comes from the fact we don’t tease about what he is playing more into the maybe Sawyer jut being crazy. Nate and Violet are patients that are both supporting and against Sawyer and her action within the institute.

PerformancesClaire Foy is fantastic in the leading role, we believe how she is being treated needing to search for answers, while felling helpless to everything going on. Joshua Leonard is disturbing in his role too, he makes us feel uneasy whenever he is on the screen. As for the rest of the cast, they are given less to do and even feel natural in all their actions through the film.

StoryThe story shows how one woman’s life is turned upside down after dealing with a stalker situation, she has tried to move on with her life and looks for support from professionals only to find herself trapped in a mental institute with a man she believes to be her stalker. Now there are two ways to judge this film, first is the excellent way it portrays the victim stalker relationship, the effects it has on the victim and how silence has only made it difficult for anybody to believe the story. the weaker side of the story comes from telling us upfront that David is the stalker and watching his actions, the idea that the woman in the institute could be crazy would have only added an edge for the story which would have been nicer to see, though it could also be praised for showing us both sides of the victim/stalker relationship with the people around them not knowing the truth only dealing with what is appears to be on the outside.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes from an angle we don’t see often, we follow a victim of stalking that doesn’t have anybody in their life supporting them anymore, just as the stalker catches up with them, with the cause and effect putting her own life in danger. The mystery is a side story that would be easy to forget was being part of the film, it focuses on the idea of how the hospital is being run.

SettingsMost of the film is set within the mental institute, which shows how difficult it would be to get anybody to believe what is going on within the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Giving away that he is a stalker rather than playing of the ideas Sawyer could be crazy.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disturbing horror, that will make you think twice when somebody claims to have been a victim of a stalker, because unless you lived through it, you will never know the trauma it will cause the victim, and this shows what happens when nobody will listen.

 

Overall: Truly disturbing movie.

Rating

 

 

Jude Law Weekend – Side Effects (2013)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Scott Z Burns (Screenplay)

Starring: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta Jones, Channing Tatum

 

Plot: A young woman’s world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Crime Thriller

 

Story: Side Effects starts with a bloody apartment before we flash back to 3 months earlier, we meet Emily Taylor (Mara) whose husband Martin (Tatum) is about to be released from a 4-year stint in prison for insider trading. Once released Emily’s depression comes back hard and she even tries to kill herself.

Dr Jonathan Banks (Law) takes Emily on as a patient looking to help cure these thoughts and after consulting with a former doctor, Victoria Siebert (Zeta-Jones), Banks agrees to try Emily on a new drug which does give her unusual side effects, one of which was murder, now Banks must prove whether this was just a side effect or his own mistake.

 

Thoughts on Side Effects

 

Characters/PerformanceEmily Taylor is a troubled young lady dealing with to depression, she gets treatment and things start to getting better only for the side effects of the new drug taking over, one leading to murder. Dr Banks is the man treating Emily and willing to try a new drug for her treatment but after she murders her husband, his life starts to come crumbling down around him, his practise dries up, his personal life becomes difficult and now he must rebuild it all. Martin is the husband who has been released from prison trying to get his life back on track with his wife. Dr Victoria Siebert is the former doctor of Emily that suggest the drug.

Performance wise, Jude Law is good through this film and is convincing as a man whose life is falling apart. Rooney Mara is also good as the unstable woman. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum both give good supporting performances too.

StoryThe story does start off being about a young woman that needs treatment for her depression but soon turns into a mystery that is filled with twist and turns that will only keep you guessing. I wasn’t sure going into this movie because dealing with the depression can be difficult subject matter but the twist makes things reach a new level of interest that only keeps us guessing which is always good.

Crime/MysteryThe crime and mystery side of the film only come out in the second half because the twist brings this drama to life.

SettingsEach setting shows us where the characters come from to show us just how desperate the characters are during twists in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis film does start slow but the twist in the half way mark is one of the most interesting twists to a film which does keep us guessing.

 

Overall: Interesting thriller that saves the slow start.

Rating