Cold Pursuit (2019)

Director: Hans Petter Moland

Writer: Frank Baldwin (Screenplay) Kim Fupz Aakeson (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Michael Richardson, Michael Eklund, Bradley Stryker, Wesley MacInnes, Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson, William Forsythe

 

Plot: A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son.


Tagline – The Perfect Revenge is all in the Execution.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightfully Dark

 

Story: Cold Pursuit starts when Nels Coxman (Neeson) wins the man of the year for his small town of Kehoe, he clears the roads for the residents in the snowy town, his son Kyle (Richardson) becomes a target for the local drug dealer Speedo (Eklund) who murders him.

Nels decides to go on a revenge mission, targeting Speedo first before moving up the chain, which sees him target the drug lord Viking (Bateman). Nels uses his brother Brock (Forsythe) to learn the field, which soon sees the Indians White Bull (Jackson) creating a turf war between the rival gangs.

 

Thoughts on Cold Pursuit

 

Characters – Nels is a quiet man who has spent his life cleaning the roads of snow, earning the respect of his town so much so that he gets the man of the city. When his son is murdered he goes out on a revenge mission against the local drug lords behind his murder. He remains calm even though he has lost everything, being prepared for every situation believing he is in control through the revenge. Grace is the wife and mother that just switches off leaving Nels after what happened. Viking is the local drug lord, he dictates everything in his life including his child’s menu, he is easily the one character you quickly come to hate because of his actions. White Bull is the leader of the Indians that run the operation in Kehoe, he end sup being dragged into the battle when Viking targets him for his own missing men, he isn’t happy with changes from the native land his forefathers once had.

PerformancesLiam Neeson does give us a different performance than we are used to in this action films, this is one where he clearly looks like a reluctant killer who has lost everything. Tom Bateman is the highlight of the film, because he is the one that makes us hate him by how he treats everybody in his life, both personal and business. Tom Jackson brings a calm performance to his drug lord figure which will see a different idea to how his character sees the business. We get plenty of supporting performances that will get the laughs when needed.

StoryThe story follows a mild-mannered man who sees his son murdered by the local drug lord and decides to go on his own revenge mission to eliminate the problem once and for all. This does play out differently than your normal revenge movie, because Nels side is slowly learning the hierarchy involved like normal, but how the drug lord deals with the problem sees him going after the rival gang which only builds the size of chaos going on. One of the weaknesses in the story is the police, who only seem to be involved to fill in certain blanks in the story rather than doing anything for the case. We do also tend to have conversations that aren’t needed which only drags certain scenes out for no reason, let not talk about the whole watching a car drive into Denver every single time.

ActionThe action does feel held back in places which saves for the big blow off scene to complete the war between everybody involved.

SettingsThe film is set in Kehoe, just outside of Denver, this is a snow covered town which is filled with tight roads in need of clearing, the locals are close and will help each other out.


Scene of the Movie –
The death messages which show who has died and by which side of the battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Driving to Denver.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark action thriller which is filled with a dark humour, it is a simple revenge idea which will take things in different directions than the normal.

 

Overall: Darkly entertaining revenge film.

Rating

 

 

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Emily Blunt Weekend – The Five-Year Engagement (2012)

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Writer: Nicholas Stoller, Jason Segel (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Lauren Weedman, Mimi Kennedy, David Paymer

 

Plot: One year after meeting, Tom proposes to his girlfriend, Violet, but unexpected events keep tripping them up as they look to walk down the aisle together.


Tagline – A comedy about the journey between popping the question and tying the knot.

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at Relationships & Careers

 

Story: The Five-Year Engagement starts when Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) get engaged and now must start to plan for their own wedding. The problems soon start to pile up, first when Violet’s sister Suzie (Brie) gets pregnant with Tom’s best friend Alex (Pratt) and must get married first, then their careers start offering them chances they can’t say no to.

When Emily continues to get opportunities to further her career, Tom holds back him problems while waiting for the chance to move away as he sees the life he could have being lived by Alex.

 

Thoughts on The Five-Year Engagement

 

Characters – Tom is a successful chef in the big city, he is in love with Violet and ready to marry her, only the wedding date gets pushed back as he wants to support her opportunity to further her career, however frustrating he finds it living in a small city away from his own career chances. Violet is the fiancée of Tom’s who has been waiting for a chance for her own studies to give her a career opportunity, which happens, only it will delay the wedding, given the chance of a lifetime, she tries to make a career out of her work, knowing how hard it will be for Tom. Alex and Suzie are the best friend and sister of the couple that seem to go into the life Tom once imagined about.

PerformancesJason Segel and Emily Blunt are wonderful in the leading roles, they have great chemistry and they both get their individual moments to get the comedy down, while together they can show us the heart of the film. Chris Pratt is the highlight of the supporting cast, as we get a good comedic supporting cast that get their own jokes in well.

StoryThe story follows a couple that are planning to get married only for their plans to go astray when a career opportunity comes up for one of them, leaving the other to support and watch their own future getting away from them. This story does show us how difficult relationships and careers can be for a couple who both want to support each other and are driven to have their own futures. We do fly through the time which only makes us wonder what is happening through most of the time. Sometimes the film does resort to just going for an extra joke when it doesn’t need to be.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does hit well through the film, we get most of the jokes from the supporting cast with moments of situational comedy too which does work well. The romance shows us just how difficult relationships can be for the people, even if love does come through in the end.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that the couple must live in, the happy life Tom starts with to the tough location he struggles to see his own future in.


Scene of the Movie –
The final act.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Sometimes the jokes go on for one too many extra punches.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful romantic comedy that shows us just how relationships can show the best in people no matter how difficult they might be when it comes to supporting people you love.

 

Overall: Brilliant romantic comedy.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – W – West Side Story (1961)

Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

Writer: Ernest Lehman (Screenplay) Jerome Robbins, William Shakespeare (Play)

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland, Ned Glass

 

Plot: Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.


Tagline – Watch this shot now. Hey. Shoot, man. Go. Hey, yeah

Runtime: 2 Hours 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Musical Fans Enjoy

 

Story: West Side Story starts as we meet the rival gangs, we have The Jets led by Riff (Tamblyn) and the Sharks led by Bernardo (Chakiris) the rising Puerto Rican gang, the two sides are always involved in brawls and Riff wants to bring it to an end soon.

Bringing the two gangs together at the local dance club, Tony (Beymer) the former leader and founder of the Jets is forced to attend, it is here where he meets Bernardo’s sister Maria (Wood) who steals his heart as the too fall instantly in love. As the two side plan their fight for the street, Maria and Tony must keep their love secret as it could bring an end to the warring gangs.

 

Thoughts on West Side Story

 

Characters – Maria is the new to the town Puerto Rican, she wants to make a life in America, starting with her job and dancing, never understand the battling gangs. She falls for one of the men on the rival side not caring about where he has come from. Tony is the founder of the Jets, he has started to grow out of the gang by getting a job and avoid the brawls. When he meets Maria he falls in love and is torn between helping his gang win or ending the war all together. Riff is the one that keeps the jets together, he is looking for a fight around every corner and knows how to fire up the gang, he knows how to push the Sharks to fight back too. Rita is the best friend of Maria that helps her into any situation which could see her have fun, including the dance.

PerformancesNatalie Wood as Maria is wonderful to watch, she can handle the singing and emotion, though it does seem strange to make her play a Puerto Rican. Richard Beymer is good in his role as the one that has started to see the problems with the ideas of the gangs. Russ Tamblyn does bring the energy to the film which is good to see through his singing and dancing numbers. Rita Moreno completes the main cast well showing us just how the supporting performers should do things.

StoryThe story is known to be a musical version of Romeo and Juliet, we have the gangs in New York that are just petty teenagers always up for a brawl as they don’t want to face growing up in life. It follows the trends of the story as the two star crossed lovers want to break the lines of the warring gangs to be together, only for the war to intensify to cause tragic consequences. The idea to modify this for the now audience for the 60s was a good idea because it does deal with plenty of issue of immigration that wasn’t being accepted in America, causing the battles between both sides. The idea of love and forbidden love at that can drive people to do anything and this could bring the end to a war over nothing.

Crime/Musical/RomanceThe crime is just young men or teenagers fighting over streets in New York, it is mostly brawls that lead to tragedy. The musical side does take us out of parts of the film because singing and dancing around the war on the streets does feel weird. The romance story is one of the oldest in the books, two people falling in love from different sides of a battle, knowing they want to be together and knowing being together could cause problems.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which is great for the different sides of the war showing us just where the two sides have come from.


Scene of the Movie –
The conclusion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a film that follows pointless battle between gangs over nothing.

Final ThoughtsThis is a musical that grabbed the audience attention back in the 60s, cleaned up at the Oscars, but now it just feels like another great musical without standing out anymore than any other.

 

Overall: Simple classic musical.

Rating

 

 

Jem and the Holograms (2015)

Director: Jon M Chu

Writer: Ryan Landels (Screenplay) Christy Marx (Animated Series)

Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayler Kiyoko, Molly Ringwald, Isabella Kai Rice

 

Plot: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.


Tagline – very Generation Needs a Voice

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good for the Target Audience

 

Story: Jem and the Holograms starts as Jerrica (Peeples) is coming to clean to her fans on the internet, we learn how she and her sisters Kimber (Scott), Shana (Perrieneau) and Aja (Kiyoko) become the internet sensations after Jerrica final came out of her shell and is picked up by producer Erica Raymond (Lewis) who wants to make them the biggest ‘It’ of the time.

Jerrica is recreated as Jem she becomes the biggest mystery in music and they become the biggest act in the planet, but can they handle the additional pressure in life.

 

Thoughts on Jem and the Holograms

 

Characters – Jerrica is one of the four sisters, the quiet and shiest one, she is also the most gifted musically, writing songs, performing privately, she creates Jem to be stay anonymous and remembers her father’s guidance everyday. She is telling the story of the rise to fame and how it made her feel. Kimber is the younger sister of Jerrica, she is social media addict, spending all her time posting on social media about anything and everything, she leaks the video of Jem and enjoys coming along to the new role in the band. Shana is one of the adopted sisters, she is a fashionista that always wanted to help the girls of the house have their own unique look. Aja is the other adopted sister, she is the true genius of the four, though she does have a habit to borrow from people without asking and can become the bad girl image. Erica Raymond is the ruthless producer that is always out to make as much money from as many different corners as possible.

PerformancesWhen we look at the performances I feel it is unfair to go through any of the four sisters in any different ways because they are all good and you do believe the family chemistry between them.

StoryThe story here shows us how quickly a life of an overnight YouTube sensation can change for the good and the bad. We get to see how the idea of making money to save the family home can bring the biggest divide between the sisters after seeing just how special the rise and first show was for them. For the weaknesses in this film we have a lot, first it based on an animated series I had no idea existed, secondly, it happens so fast we can easily miss what is going on, we never really get an indication of days/weeks or months that we are following. The final negative comes to the issue of trying to show how YouTube can be turned to for fame, it will never happen this quickly.

Adventure/Fantasy/Music/Romance/Sci-FiThe genres this film tries to cross are all getting effected by lack of opportunity, the only one that truly gets the right time is the music side because that is the heart of the film. the fantasy sci-fi side of the film feels like an attachment to the main story.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is always going to be the right choice for an American film about glitz and glamor.


Scene of the Movie –
The first show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While it is meaningful, the sci-fi fantasy side story is just left in the back burner.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will keep the target audience happy, it doesn’t offer too much for the casual fans of the genre and can get lost trying to do too much.

 

Overall: The good and the bad of YouTube success.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – V – Vice (2018)

Director: Adam McKay

Writer: Adam McKay (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Eddie Marsan, Tyler Perry, Jesse Plemons

 

Plot: The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.


Tagline – The Untold True Story That Changed the Course of History

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hugely Entertaining Biopic

 

Story: Vice starts in the 1960’s as Dick Cheney (Bale) is about to screw up his life with DUI after getting kicked out Yale, his wife Lynne (Adams) isn’t going to let him screw up her ambition to be involved in politics, a role a woman wouldn’t be able to do in this era. Dick sorts his life out and before long he is learning of Donald Rumsfeld (Carell) and after the Watergate scandal, he ends up landing the Chief of Staff role.

It isn’t long before this role disappears and Dick must rebuild his career, becoming a senator before the chair of the house, his political power is growing and when he meets George W Bush (Rockwell) he will get to a position he could never have imagined.

 

Thoughts on Vice

 

Characters – These characters are based on real people, only loosely though. Dick Cheney was involved in politics from the late 60s under President Nixon, until George W Bush, he took many different roles through the years, but it was his ability to stay out of the public eyes that made him one of the most powerful men in the history of America. Lynne is the wife of Dick, she pushes him into the political career, knowing it is something she would never be allowed to do. Once in his career, she supports him on every decision he makes. Donald Rumsfeld gives Dick his first chance in politics in the white house, the two do work together through the years as Donald sees just how blunt Dick has become. George W Bush is painted to be the President that can be controlled by Dick, put in a place of power which he simply isn’t ready for, he does pick Dick to be his Vice President though.

PerformancesChristian Bale is truly fantastic in this leading role, the transformation he goes through, from his almost natural look to the old bigger Dick Cheney is unbelievable and you can see why he will be up for most of the awards.  Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell in supporting roles are all wonderful and completely embrace their characters.

StoryThe story follows the life and times of Dick Cheney from his early political run, to his many different roles before being talked out of retirement to become Vice President to George W Bush. This story is told to show the many different accomplishments Dick Cheney had in life, whether he did the right thing in different roles is a different question. We might jump over a couple of issues, but we are mainly here to focus on the Vice Presidency role which is the one he will always be remembered for, this is one that will leave you surprised and not hating the guy as much as you think you will going into the film, which does feel strange. If anything, this will show us just how important moments in history will be when you look back on them.

Biopic/Comedy/HistoryDick Cheney is one of the most ambition men in American political history, this gets to show us just how far he went for his role and how much control he was able to take with little effort. This is told in a comedic tone which does work for the film, mostly because you can’t believe just what he got away with in these roles.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that Dick Cheney was in during different times of his life, the film uses them to make each be realistic no matter what was going on.


Scene of the Movie –
The mid film credits.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments are skipped over even if we get an introduction to certain roles.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most entertaining biopics of the year, you will want to watch each moment even if he isn’t the best man to be involved in human history, a place where people will look back at his actions with shock.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating