ABC Film Challenge – Random – V – Vanilla Sky (2001)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Writer: Cameron Crowe (Screenplay) Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, Jason Lee, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, Tilda Swinton, Michael Shannon

 

Plot: A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Trippy Fantasy Thriller

 

Story: Vanilla Sky starts as we meet David Aames (Cruise) a playboy publishing mogul that inherited this from his father. He sleeps with beautiful women including actress Julie Gianni (Diaz) but always finds time for his best friend Brian Shelby (Lee). But, his life has been shattered thanks to a car accident which has left him disfigured hiding behind a mask in jail.

While waiting for his hearing David recounts the events which led up to his charges to McCabe (Russell). We learn how David meets Sofia Serrano (Cruz) the woman of his dreams but Julie shows her jealous side causing a car crash which leaves him broken and living between reality and dreams, needing to face his new life.

 

Thoughts on Vanilla Sky

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid lived a life where he could have any women living the life of luxury until this lifestyle catches up with him, leaving him disfigured and in jail, recounting the events between the two moments. Sofia is the new love that David falls for, she has all the chemistry he requires for something different being the motivation for David to fix himself. Julie is the jealous former lover that causes the accident, she is an actress that is filled with self-confidence but all that isn’t everything we have come to know.

Performance wise, Tom Cruise is great in the leading role, not being afraid to make himself slightly disfigured for this role. Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz are both are both also great in the roles of the two women in David’s life.

StoryIn a story that leaves you questioning nearly everything going on even after you believe you have just worked everything out, well this story will keep you all over the place. I do think this does enough to keep us guessing without becoming tiring and will completely satisfied by the end.

Fantasy/Mystery/RomanceThe fantasy world created comes through in the end and it will leave you shocked with the outcome of the film, getting to this stage we are left with a big mystery into just what has been happening with the romance being how David falls in love with Sofia.

SettingsEach setting is used well, but the truly special moment in the New York being empty looks fantastic.

Special EffectsThe effects that are used to create the disfigured looking David all come off great with the other effects all doing the required effect in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film will test your mind which is always something we like to see in films, yes, it is a remake or reimagination but still it looks fantastic.

 

Overall: This was a true mind bender of morale decision making.

Rating

 

 

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The Damned United (2009)

damnedDirector: Tom Hooper

Writer: Peter Morgan (Screenplay) David Peace (Novel)

Starring: Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, Jim Broadbent, Stephen Graham

 

Plot: A look at Brian Clough’s 44-day reign as the coach of Leeds United.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Interesting

 

Story: The Damned United starts when Don Revie (Meaney) leaves his job as Leeds United manager being replaced by the controversial Brian Clough (Sheen). Brian goes straight into the job making an enemy of himself against the former manager as we learn the motivation for his actions where he was at Derby County a lower league club that played Leeds in a cup match where Don completely blanks him.

We flash between the two time periods as we watch the success at Derby and failure at Leeds, where we see how the friendship with Peter Taylor (Spall) is best friend and person he turns to for players at Derby but distant enemy while at Leeds.

The Damned United is the story of one of the most interesting men in football management in Brian Clough, I never personally got to experience Clough as a manager but I knew about his accomplishments. I found this very interesting as we see the battle between the two managers which works as we would believe to see this happen now a day. I did like how the story bounced between the time periods which works to keep everything running smoothly.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Sheen: Brian Clough is the famous controversial manager who rose to success with Derby County where he gets the chance to work and move to Leeds United. We see his success at Derby and failures at Leeds showing the style he has created and is still talked about now. Michael is brilliant in this role capturing Brian Clough perfectly.brian

Timothy Spall: Peter Taylor is the loyal assistant of Clough’s who helped him reach the title with Derby but with the clash they find themselves distant with Clough at Leeds and Taylor stepping down the leagues to Brighton. Timothy is great in this supporting role bouncing off Michael very well.pter

Colm Meaney: Don Revie is the former Leeds manager who leaves his job for England but has become the target of Brian Clough who always wanted to get one over. Colm is good in this role without outshining Michael.don

Jim Broadbent: Sam Longson is the chairman of Derby County, he constantly clashes with Brian Clough, he runs out of patients with him even after all the success he had bought the club. Jim is good in this role working well with Michael.

Support Cast: The Damned United has a great supporting cast that all give us great performance as the iconic footballers.

Director Review: Tom HooperTom gives us a great biographical film that shows just how impressive this man really was.

 

Biographical: The Damned United shows the abilities of one of the greatest managers’ football ever saw.

Comedy: The Damned United has a solid comic tone which is mostly how Clough looked at basic ideas of managing.

Sports: The Damned United brings us good football action throughout.

Settings: The Damned United recreates the settings for the time period really well making us think we are in the same time zone.
Suggestion
: The Damned United is one for everyone to watch, it is always good to learn a brilliant story of success and failure going next to each other. (Watch)

 

Best Part: First day at Leeds

Worst Part: You would need to know something about football to really understand how some things happen.

Favourite Quote: Brian Clough ‘I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the country. But I’m in the top one.

 

Believability: Based on the real events.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: “They love me for what I’m not… …they hate me for what I am.”

 

Overall: Brilliant Sports biographical movie about a great man

Ratingcard

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Domhnall Gleeson, Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Timothy Spall

 

Plot: Harry, Ron and Hermione search for Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord as the final battle rages on at Hogwarts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: It ends with a bang

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two starts by reminding us of the closing scene in Part One with Voldemort taking Dumbledore’s wand from his grave. Harry (Radcliffe), Hermione (Watson) and Ron (Grint) continue in the quest to stop Lord Voldemort (Fiennes). The plan to find the final item of the three Deathly Hallows items takes our heroes down to Bellatrix Lestrange vault. After which they must sneak back into Hogwarts to meet up with the former classmates as they have to work together to uncover the next Horcruxes that Lord Voldemort is searching for to make him stronger.

Hogwarts is under a new head master Severus Snape (Rickman) who threatens the whole school both students and staff only to finally get confronted by Harry and taken out of the picture at Hogwarts. Voldemort tries to get the students to turn Harry over but united they stand ready for the final battle against Voldemort and anyone who stands with him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two complete the saga we have seen for a grand total of ten years. We FINALLY get to see a proper battle instead of a small five minute one which most of the films have had. We do get more causalities and a conclusion that any saga would be happy with, we get some twists we don’t see coming that will bring our opinions on certain characters around. We get rewarded for sitting through the other films that developed the characters so we don’t have to waste time with anymore preparation. In the end all the fans will be rewarded with a conclusion that we deserved. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter going through his final preparation to face Lord Voldemort in a battle that will define him. Daniel gives a great performance in his final outing as the wizard hero. (9/10)

 harry

Emma Watson: Hermione along with Ron work on their own plan to stop Voldemort. Hermione helps in the battle by letting Harry focus on the main one ahead of him.  Emma gives a good performance. (8/10)

emma

Rupert Grint: Ron along with Hermione work on a plan to stop Voldemort and final show each other how they feel about one another. Rupert gives a good performance in the supporting role. (8/10)

 ron

Ralph Fiennes: Lord Voldemort along with his army is out to take down Hogwarts and kill Harry once and for all. Ralph makes for a great villain through the last couple of films and finally gets a chance to be the full force villain we have been waiting to see. (9/10)

 voldemort

Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two has a huge supporting cast for the battle which sees old friends return, enemies exposed and true alliances revealed. They all help in the final battle with each offering something we didn’t expect from them.

 

Director Review: David Yates – David does a good job directing the conclusion of the Harry Potter saga. (9/10)

 

Family: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two remains one for the growing family to enjoy but this one would be too much for the younger audience. (8/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two keeps its fantasy elements going with the magical battles. (8/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two doesn’t have much mystery about it anymore as we solved most of the mystery in the previous film. (5/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two cuts its setting down but that works because we don’t need many as the battle takes place at Hogwarts. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two has great special effects throughout that keep everything looking very real. (10/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two should only be watched by the fans who have seen the previous films, if you don’t you won’t get the full reward with this one. (Watch After the Rest)

 

Best Part: Hogwarts battle.

Worst Part: 19 years later doesn’t fit in at all.

Action Scene Of The Film: Hogwarts battle

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: The end for now

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 3 Oscars

Box Office: $1.3 Billion

Budget: $125 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

Tagline: It All Ends

Trivia: Daniel Radcliffe reportedly broke 80 wands throughout the series because he used them as drumsticks.

 

Overall: Great Conclusion to the Saga

Rating 90

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Bill Nighy, Richard Griffiths, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Timothy Spall, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, John Hurt, David Thewlis, Domhnall Gleeson

 

Plot: As Harry races against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, he uncovers the existence of three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Harry Potter and the Fellowship of the Wands

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One starts by showing the wizard council preparing for anything making the people away they are still going to be safe. To be sure Hermione (Watson) erases her memory from here mortal parents. We see Lord Voldemort (Fiennes) and his followers planning to find and kill Harry Potter (Radcliffe). To help protect Harry the defence arranges for a select through the turn into a Harry Potter to confuse the dark lord, with the real Harry heading off with Hagrid (Coltrane). Upon their escape the order is attacked having causalities including a very trusty friend of Harry’s.

Even through the dark times we have a wedding for the Weasley brother and at this wedding Harry learns more about his old friend Dumbledore. Darkness falls on the wedding leaving Harry, Ron (Grint) and Hermione escaping to London. Each step leading to a new danger the three friends most choose their steps wisely. Harry must go back into his past to find the answers to the questions which will help him defeat Voldemort.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One enters into the world that we have been into for years now. We go to the darkest levels we have had since the series started and we take away the school element of the film. Even though this film relies on yet more building and focuses on the friendship a lot more that we have had in previous years. On the negatives we do lack the amount of villain activity as we only see an opening scheming and a few attacks my goons. It might be part spoiler here but it was good to finally see the villains have the opener hand at the end of the film. This is good build and does take the film into a different direction than we have been going with the adventure the three go on. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter with everyone after him Harry has to watch his own friends sacrifice and risk their own lives so he can complete his mission and stop Lord Voldemort. Daniel gives a good performance showing the power that is needed in the character. (9/10)

 harry

Emma Watson: Hermione long-time friend of Harry’s who joins in the quest even if it strains the relationship with Ron. Emma does a good job and finally gets a bigger role and shines in it. (8/10)

emma

Rupert Grint: Ron worried about all his loved ones he questions his place in the quest leaving the other two alone but he does make his return when it is most needed. Rupert gives a good performance and shows a much serious side to his character. (8/10)

 ron

Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One has a large supporting cast but in the end they don’t come along or get involved as much as previous times.

 

Director Review: David Yates – David does a good job showing the good guys preparing for a final battle with the dark lord. (8/10)

 

Adventure: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One shows a good sense of adventure throughout for our heroes. (9/10)

Family: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One this would be harder to suggest watching with younger family members but can be enjoyed by the old children. (9/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One keeps its elements of fantasy high level which works for the whole story. (9/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One keeps us guessing on who is the ones they can trust and who they can’t. (9/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One uses new settings by not including Hogwarts also doesn’t seem missed. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One fails to use the extra special effects which works because the ones being used work well. (9/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One would be one to watch as long as you have seen the rest, this may not be one that can be picked up without seeing the rest. (Series Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The adventure between the friends comes off well.

Worst Part: Not enough of what the villains are up too.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 7 – 8 of the series

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 2 Oscars

Box Office: $960 Million

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 30 Minutes

Tagline: The Hunts Begins

 

Overall: Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings

Rating 80

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

logoDirector: David Yates

Writer: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith

 

Plot: As Harry Potter begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, he discovers an old book marked as “the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lowering The Levels Here

 

Story: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince starts by the dark master Lord Voldemort’s (Fiennes) and his wizards attacking London. Harry (Radcliffe) has spent his summer enjoy himself away from the abusive family, when a visit from Dumbledore (Gambon) opens up the next adventure. Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Watson) are having second thoughts about returning to Hogwarts for their sixth year. We see Severus Snape (Rickman) conspiring with Bellatrix Lestrange (Carter) and the Malfoy family along with us hearing about a plan for Draco (Felton) to complete the dark lords work.

Upon returning to Hogwarts the students learn how it might not be safe there anymore and the defences have been increased to try and protect the students from the evil outside the walls. We learn more about Voldemort’s time as a student as Hogwarts where he went by the name Thomas Riddle and the interaction he had with Dumbledore. We continue to see Draco planning something as he seems to have cut out the bullying side of his character, while our three leads all deal with relationship issues.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is bar far the most boring of all of the films so far, it deals with way too much relationship issue when the bigger picture seems to be swept under the rug especially after what we saw in the last one. It is sad because the final moments of this film are also some of the most important of the whole series, but as I have said for the last couple it is all build to one big battle that we will not see until next time I hope. I really feel if this one had been a better all-round story it could have been the most emotional impactful so far but because of the lame relationship stuff we just lose interest here. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Daniel Radcliffe: Harry Potter known as the chosen one now, he wants to continue his studies so he will be ready to fulfil his destiny and be the one to stop Voldemort. Daniel gives an ok performance but in the end it isn’t the level you have come to expect. (7/10)

 harry

Emma Watson: Hermione she was a strong power leading witch but now all she wants to know is why Ron is taking notice of her. Emma does a solid job but less screen time then it kind of ruins the quality of the friendship. (6/10)

emma

Rupert Grint: Ron stuck in a teenage relationship and new star of the Quidditch team. Rupert is also getting less screen time that pulls it all down for him. (6/10)

 rupert

Support Cast: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has a huge supporting cast but this time not enough of them make an impact on everything that is going.

 

Director Review: David Yates – Pulls the standard of franchise down because we are expecting such a larger level of directing. (5/10)

 

Adventure: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pulls away from the adventure side to give us all the teen romance rubbish. (2/10)

Family: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is does continue to be one for the family but this could be missed in the most part. (5/10)

Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince keeps the fantasy level up high. (8/10)

Mystery: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince offers plenty of mystery and continues to leave some of the open for a later film. (9/10)

Settings: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince all come off great throughout the film. (10/10)
Special Effects
: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince cuts down on the effects but in the end when it is used looks too much CGI used. (4/10)

Suggestion: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the first one of the series I could say miss too, but the final moments make it import to what happens for the next one. (Watch if you have seen the rest)

 

Best Part: Final moments.

Worst Part: Teen romance crap

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: 5 – 8 of the series

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 1 Oscar

Box Office: $934 Million

Budget: $250 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 33 Minutes

Tagline: Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry

Trivia: The only ‘Harry Potter’ movie to be Oscar nominated for the Best Cinematography Academy Award.

 

Overall: Worst in the Series

Rating 66