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

 

 

Bird Box (2018)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Josh Malerman (Novel)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rose Salazar

 

Plot: A woman and a pair of children are blindfolded and make their way through a dystopian setting.


Tagline – Never Lose Sight of Survival

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Generic Survival Movie

 

Story: Bird Box starts with Malorie (Bullock) needing to make a difficult journey with two children, needing to remain blindfolded from whatever is in the air outside, the journey should offer them safety. Flashback five years to when an unknown even happens while Malorie is pregnant where people start acting psychotic and suicidal in their behaviour.

Malorie joins fellow survivors Tom (Rhodes), Douglas (Malkovich), Cheryl (Weaver) and Lucy (Salazar) to mention a few, where people need to remain inside or they will become infected. We go through the survival process as go through the essentials about needing food and supplies, let alone whether they can stand being around each other.

 

Thoughts on Bird Box

 

Characters – Malorie is the woman trying to get two children to safety, she is the mother of one of them as we see from her from the events where the disaster first breaks out, where she is dealing with the reality she might be raising her child alone or even giving it up, she loses a sister in the opening attack and is sudden the one voice of reason when it comes to the group of survivors. She doesn’t want to leave anyone behind which sees her clash with Douglas a lot. Tom is one of the fellow survivors, he does seem to be the most level headed of the group, he uses his military training to help prepare for the next stage of the survival. Douglas is the home owner that doesn’t want to help the survivors, he sees his wife die trying to help Malorie which sees him clash with her, he is the typical asshole needed for this type of movie. Jessica is the sister of Malorie who is preparing her for motherhood.

PerformancesSandra Bullock in the leading role is the highlight of the film, she easily the best performer in the film even if her character seems overly random. Trevante Rhodes does a solid enough job in the supporting role being the soldier figure, that doesn’t need to be over the top, while John Malkovich overacts his arse off chewing the scenery like only he could. Most of the rest of the performances are average at best mostly because we don’t get enough time to invest in the rest of the characters.

StoryThe story here follows a group of survivors mostly a woman and two children in a world where people can’t see because something will infect them if they see it in the open, what they will see anything they will become crazed and suicidal. Now this story should be interesting and for the way this is told it drags along, we follow the events in the house which just gives us a group of people that are going to be picked off at some point because we learn early on from the open sequence it is just Malorie and the children, this is the good part of the story, watching the journey down the river in an attempt to survive. The survival side of the story is easily the most engaging only it ends up losing all the tension because of the dragging scenes through the home. The random jumps between the time just seems random and makes no sense which doesn’t help the flow to the movie.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror side of the film comes from the unknown as the ‘creatures’ are trying to infect the people, sadly we never see them which feels like something we should have seen by the end, the film hides them like it will be a shock by the end, only to not show us. The sci-fi side of the film shows us what would happen if something like this was to happen, how the world would come to an end as we know it.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of settings, the house is just there to kill time and meet a group of pointless characters, when we are on the river, we are left wondering just what will come next for the characters while the woods are also filled with the void of the unknown.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we are treated to the less is more concept where we see rustles, but never see anything, when it comes to the injuries, we see the basics without it being blood filled like it could have been.


Scene of the Movie –
The Rapids.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the time in the house.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing movie because we did get a sense heavy horror movie earlier in the year with ‘A Quiet Place’ this film fails to use the full extent of this idea.

 

Overall: Disappointing horror.

Rating