Film Friday #276

Serena (2014)

When lumber yard owner, Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) meets orphaned heiress, Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) it is passionate love at first sight and the two get married almost immediately. Serena joins Pemberton at the lumber yard, sinking what money she has into it and proving a force to be reckoned with in terms of running the place, which is pretty unusual for a woman in depression era America. The two prove to be ruthless in their ambition, stopping at little to achieve success and keep their business alive in the face of double dealing from their closest advisers. However the combined loss of their unborn child and the arrival of a former servant Pemberton once slept with and her baby (who looks rather a lot like Pemberton) turns Serena’s drive and tenacity to something much darker. So it seems this movie is most well-known for bankrupting an entire Danish film studio as it was such a critical and commercial failure. I can see why. It’s tonally all over the place, errs way over on the side of melodrama in place of drama and the lengths that Serena goes to towards the end are just not believable. Both Cooper and Lawrence seem somewhat miscast, even though they do have spades of chemistry, and the script is a plodding mess. What a stinker. 1/5

Serena with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

Look… it’s all the good movies we were in. Remember that?

Pandorum (2009)

Corporal Bower (Ben Foster), wakes up on a spaceship and cannot remember why he is there or what he is supposed to be doing. Initially the only other person on the ship appears to be Lieutenant Payton (Ryan O’Neal). In order to get the ship up and running someone will need to restart the reactor and for some reason Bower can remember how to do this so he heads off into the dark bowels of the ship with Payton to guide him. Here he will uncover a dark and terrifying reality, while Payton stays behind fighting demons of his own. I don’t want to reveal much more about this because I went in knowing very little and I think it added to my enjoyment of the film. On many levels Pandorum really works. It’s dark, creepy and atmospheric and what is hiding out in the ship properly gave me the heeb. It has a pretty solid story, loads of action  and it cracks along at a stonking pace. Plus it’s got a couple of nifty twists in the tale. It doesn’t leave an enormous amount of time for character development and sometimes the script is a little hokey but as sci-fi horrors go, I had a great time with it and the whole way through (because I was watching it on the Eurostar from Brussels to London) I wished Mr O was watching it with me because I think he would have bloody loved it. 3.5/5

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The gang felt like they were definitely ready for the Parent’s Association meeting

Predator (1987)

When a helicopter goes down over the South American jungle with its passengers at risk of being attacked by guerillas, Special Ops veteran, Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his team are called n to perform a rescue mission. But what they find in the jungle is a lot scarier than rebel warfare and as members of the team are picked off one by one by what seems like an invisible enemy Dutch will have to use everything in his arsenal to survive. Until this week I probably hadn’t seen Predator in about twenty years so when it turned up on Netflix and Mr O started rubbing his hands together in glee I decided not to fight it. With this being such an iconic movie it’s kind of hard to review it. I don’t have the kind of relationship with it as many do… including Mr O who may or may not have quoted along with most of the film (he did). However I can say that it was unintentionally absolutely hilarious and there is a guilty pleasure in the absolutely gung-ho rain of bullets that features in every frame. The actual reveal of the predator is also a jaw-dropper and as monster design goes it’s one of the most iconic alien bad guys out there. Arnie is perfect to play Dutch (although I am still not sure exactly how Dutch happens to be Austrian but you know… ) and his ragtag gang are such a laugh. A riot of action, adventure, violence and cheesy dialogue that only could have come out of the 80’s. Awesome. 3.5/5

PredatorSP1-13-1024x550

Dutch was over people cutting in line at the DMV

Maleficent (2014)

I am going to be brutally honest… I couldn’t muster enough interest in this film to actually pay that much attention to it, which might be why the story made almost no sense to me. It might also have just been crap. Anyway, this is a live action remake of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of villain, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). In her youth fairy Maleficent falls for a peasant boy anmed Stefan who essentially double-crosses her to become king, When Stefan (Sharlto Copley) and his wife have a baby Maleficent curses her out of spite and says she’ll sleep a lot until she’s sixteen unless a prince kisses her or something… this is where I got bored. Anyway Aurora (Elle Fanning) who is a gratingly annoying, insipid bitch ends up spending loads of time with Maleficent and her familiar (?) Diwal (an absolutely wasted Sam Riley and gets a bit attached to her… Then there’s a fight and a dragon and blah blah blah. Basically I was so distracted by Copley’s bizarre South African-Scottish hybrid accent that I spent half the film taking the piss out of it with my poor flatmate who got stuck watching it with me. Why was he Scottish?? Why was Diwal (who we renamed Dewald Koekemoer… which will only be funny to other South Africans like Zoë) Irish? On the tiny plus side it looks pretty cool as does Jolie. I think the point was supposed to be that if you’re an evil douche it might be because something crap happened to you in the past. It wasn’t for me. 1/5

MALEFICENT

I don’t know what it is but it’s looking at me funny

13 Comments

  1. MIB

    “I ain’t got time to bleed” 😛

    1. Mr O definitely said that as he was watching it.

    1. Thank you! I was feeling particularly cantankerous as I worked on this one.

  2. You got my hopes up, but it’s not on Netflix here. 😢

    1. Boo! Yeah we’re on UK Netflix.

  3. I kept seeing Serena on Netflix but have no interest in seeing it, good decision it seems. Ahah, as for Maleficent, I enjoyed it a bit more than you even before I went nuts for Sam Riley but yeah, he was wasted in it. But that said, he was still fun to watch in it and he said he took the role as he was curious about being in a blockbuster flick, I sure wish he won’t take part in the sequel though, blech!

    1. Stay away from Serena. I think I probably wasn’t ever going to be the target audience for Maleficent.

  4. I think I’ll have to stay away from Serena after reading this. I knew it’s a stinker but I kind of still hoped it wouldn’t be. Pity. I usually watch everything with Lawrence.

  5. Dewald Koekemoer xD There we go! Makes perfect sense. What the hell was up with Copley’s accent?!

    Looks like you got some real shitty films here Abbi, but two decent ones, too.

  6. I rather enjoyed Maleficent. But then, makeup goes a long way with me, and I adore Jolie’s in this.

  7. Oh man, you had to go through Serena! That movie is absolutely horrible! It does make me curious whether the novel is based on is so great that its worth an adaptation…

    1. It was so awful. I’m not sure I can face the book.

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