Drive (2011)

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Writer: Hossein Amini

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Oscar Isaac, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman


Story: Driver (Gosling) a simple looking man with many mysteries, starting with his jobs part simple mechanic part stunt driver and part getaway driver. Driver leads a life of solitude but when his manager and friend Shannon (Cranston) dreams of a stock car team with Driver as the driver shady business man Bernie Rose (Brooks) has to help finance the project.


With things starting to look up for Driver he meets his beautiful neighbour Irene (Mulligan) and her son. Irene’s husband Standard (Isaac) is in prison when they meet but soon gets released. When Driver sees Standard have a altercation with some men he learns that the family is unsafe Driver sets out on completing one more getaway job helping Standard get the money to save his family. Only not everything goes to plan and Driver is now being chased down by the mob.


Can Driver save Irene and her family before its too late and escape these ruthless mobsters that are after him?


Verdict: This thriller was literally one of everyone’s favourite films of 2011 and its clear to see why. Each scene is shot just beautifully with an excellent use of music. Drive was tipped to be getting Oscar nominations but unfortunately is seemed to get over looked. It may be a bit on the violent side for some viewers and even though the main character is called Driver there isn’t too much driving going on but that is a good thing because its not just about over the top car chases, Driver is a much more composed driver who casual escapes trouble. All the performances are top-notch stuff with outstanding performances from Gosling and Brooks. Like most other people I found this movie very impressive and well worth a watch.


Story Mark 9/10 Very good story not most original but brilliant told.


Action Mark 8/10 Couple of calm car chases and violent fight scenes not stand out though.


Character Development Mark 10/10 Driver alone development is brilliant where he starts as someone almost loner like and each scene you seem to learn more and more about him.


Star Performances: Ryan Gosling brilliant performance as Driver


Albert Brooks and the face of a shady business but has a very dark side.


Favourite Character: Driver sums up the reluctant hero perfectly


Best Part: The scene in the lift with Driver, Irene and a hitman.


Best Quote: Driver ‘How about this – shut your mouth, or I’ll kick your teeth down your throat and I’ll shut it for you.’


My Rating 93%


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Writer: Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan,

Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, Ciaran Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Dencik


Story: After Control (Hurt) hears there is a double agent with the higher ups in the MI6 he starts to recruit trusted spies to uncover the truth. After the first mission with Jim Prideaux (Strong) goes sour Control sets out another attempt with formerly retired agent George Smiley (Oldman).


Smiley teams with young agent Peter Guillam (Cumberbatch) and rogue agent Ricki Tarr (Hardy) to investigate the truth. The five names that could the suspects are

  • Percy Allenline (Jones)
  • Toby Esterhase (Dencik)
  • Roy Bland (Hinds)
  • Bill Haydon (Firth)
  • And Smiley himself.


Can Smiley uncover the truth with all the plot turns unfolding around every corner?


Verdict: This British thriller based on the novel by John Le Carre and a remake of the drama with the same name made by the BBC is a very engrossing story. Having recently being nominated for three Oscars including best actor for Gary Oldman this is one spy thriller to be watching. The cast is wonderfully ensemble of British talent who all shine through out. With Oscar season coming up I suggest you watch this movie before.


Story Mark 10/10 Brilliant story, which unfolds at a perfect pace.


Character Development Mark 9/10 Each characters secret unfolds as you learn more about the character.


Star Performances: Gary Oldman his Oscar nomination is well deserved. Overall every single actor gives a top performance through out.


Favourite Character: Ricki Tarr the agent with truth and more detailed reason for it to be uncovered.


Least Favourite Character: Billy Hayden stuck up agent very un-likable character thanks to brilliant performance from Colin Firth.


Best Part: The story itself really


Worst Part: May struggle to make a mark in the US with a British heavy cast.


Best Quote: Smiley ‘We are not so very different, you and I. We’ve both spent our lives looking for the weaknesses in one another.’


My Rating 92%

Starship Troopers 3 Marauder (2008)

Director: Edward Neumeier

Writer: Edward Neumeier

Starring: Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Stephen Hogan, Boris Kodjoe, Amanda Donohoe, Marnette Patterson.

Story: The war on the bugs continues and at the front of the fight Johnny Rico (Van Dien) returning from the original. Johnny is in charge of key base when a visit from Sky Marshal Omar Anoke (Hogan) brings back old friends in Captain Lola Beck (Blalock) and General Dix Hauser (Kodjoe). Things take a turn for the worse when the bugs get into the base causing major causalities and Johnny is held responsible and sentenced for death.

On the flight home the Sky Marshal ship is thrown out of warp speed and has to be evacuated leaving Captain Beck, Sky Marshall and four other stranded on a bug planet. Determined to save them Hauser arranges a mission with Johnny and lead to save them using the new Marauder equipment. Can Johnny save the day and help continue the war against the bugs?

Verdict: The third instalment of these movies is easily the second best but also nowhere near the standard of the original. The inclusion of Johnny Rico the lead from the first one is a big plus and this has the feel of the real sequel to the first one. This is the director first feature film but his involvement in the first one and other films from that director has help him understand the almost tongue in check nature of the new articles which give nice break to the action and seriousness of the story. After the second Starship Troopers turned out so bad many people may over look this one but this should be looked at if you were a fan of the original.


Story Mark 8/10 Continues the hunt for victory in the war against the bugs well.

Action Mark 7/10 Mostly tamed down from the original still has some nice scenes.

Character Development Mark 6/10 Not the best but Sky Marshall has a good story unfold.

Special Effects Mark 7/10 Not the best but lower budget had effect on this.

Star Performances: Stephen Hogan as Sky Marshall makes for good viewing through out.


Favourite Character: Sky Marshall as he is a bit over the edge in the head.

Poor Performance: Casper Van Dien just clearly here for the money after his career when down hill.


Least Favourite Character: Holly (Patterson) the character got a bit annoying after a while not saying she did a bad job just sometime when you watch a group of people getting picked off you start feeling when is it her turn.

Best Part: Follows the original start well.

Worst Part: Cheaply made, bigger budget would have deserved a bigger budget


Similar Too – Pitch Black, Starship Troopers

My Rating 72%

The Juror (1996)

Director: Brian Gibson

Writer: Ted Tally

Starring: Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hache, James Gandolfini


Story: When single mum Annie Laird (Moore) is selected for jury duty she ends up on one of the biggest cases against the Mafia. The case has guilty written all over it but the Mafia have other plans. The Teacher (Baldwin) the man responsible for the crime befriends Annie. His agenda soon becomes apparent when he threatens to kill her son Oliver (Gordon-Levitt) if she doesn’t get a ‘not guilty’ from the jury.


With the handler Eddie (Gandolfini) following her every move and with her best friends Juliet (Hache) help can Annie keeper her family safe. This edge of you seat thriller will keep you guessing right to the end.


Verdict: A thriller, which has everything, a strong thriller should have. Alec Baldwin as the Teacher shines as the over the edge hit man who is right on the verge of a break down. Based on the novel by George Dawes Green it is full of elements of any John Grisham novel/film, so if you have a fan of his then you will enjoy the one.  With great performances from the supporting cast of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hache, James Gandolfini the strong movie flows with relative ease and will be enjoyed by all thriller fans.  


Story Mark 9/10 Solid story from start to finish.


Action Mark 7/10 The few chase scenes are nicely executed but nothing full-blown action.


Star Performances: Alec Baldwin as the Teacher shines from start to finishes through all the emotions great performance.


Favourite Character: Teacher a character on the verge of breaking is always the best to watch and this one is perfect fit for the story too.


Best Part: The first reveal who the Teacher is to Annie so calmly done but so effective.


Similar Too – Runaway Jury, The Firm


My Rating 80%

I Am Omega (2007)

Director: Griff Furst

Writer: Geoff Meed

Starring: Mark Dacascos, Geoff Meed, Jennifer Lee Wiggins


Story: When the world’s population has been taken over by the dead Renchard (Dacascos) lives day-by-day missing his family who died during the outbreak. Renchard has set up his home with traps fro when the creatures come and lives in isolation. Renchard plans to blow up the local city and has been setting up charges to do so, but things change for him when he gets a video message from Brianna (Lee-Wiggins), Brianna is in the city and is immune to the disease.


Vincent (Meed) a guy who claims to be trying to help save Brianna find Renchard and they both go off to save her before it is too late. Can they over come the dead and save the girl and potentially the world.

Verdict: This is simply a cheaply made version of ‘I Am Legend’ with a martial arts star rather than a Blockbuster star. It’s pretty simple to follow with the fight scenes be a way to show off Mark Dacascos fighting skills. IF you compare the two movies Legend has a very nice gloss over it while Omega almost has a more real feel to it. Made by The Asylum who made Trasmorphers when Transformers was released. Overall this is an average action horror, which is more fun to watch than I Am Legend.


Story Mark 6/10 Average story nothing special


Action Mark 8/10 Some good fight scenes


Horror Mark 4/10 No real scares for horror


Special Effects Mark 5/10 Poor special effects but cheaply made.


Star Performances: Mark Dacascos strong lead should be doing better things than this.


Favourite Character: Renchard strong character filled with regret.


Least Favourite Character: Vincent interrupts Renchard quiet isolated life.


Best Part: The environment created.


Worst Part: Renchard shock of getting a message way over the top.


Similar Too – I Am Legend


My Rating 56%