Devil’s Advocate (1997)

logoDirector: Taylor Hackford

Writer: Jonathan Lemkin, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) Andrew Neiderman (Novel)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones, Judith Ivey, Connie Nielsen, Craig T Nelson, Tamara Tunie

 

Plot: An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job to work in New York City for a high-end law firm with a high-end boss – the biggest opportunity of his career to date.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Damned if you, Damned if you don’t

 

Story: Devil’s Advocate starts with defence lawyer Kevin Lomax (Reeves) defending a paedophile who Lomax knows is guilty but he hasn’t lost a case before isn’t prepared to give up his undefeated streak. After doing the seemingly impossible Kevin proves himself to be one of the best trial lawyers in Florida.

This latest win grabs the attention of Milton, Chadwick & Waters attorneys in New York and along with his wife Mary Ann (Theron) head of firstly to just pick a jury for them. Kevin gets the case won in record time which leads him to meet John Milton (Pacino) who offers him a job in the firm. Kevin gets all the perks of a partner and gets put on his first case which is a simple health code case, which of course he wins with ease.

When one of the biggest clients on the books gets charged with triple homicide Alex Cullen (Nelson) get given Kevin to prove he is innocent even when the city has already decided he is guilty. Kevin is being a success Mary Ann is struggling to cope with the lifestyle in New York and her only to friends are all about the spending their husband’s money and starts to have the beginning of a breakdown.

The further Mary Ann falls into madness the more Kevin discovers that he is in fact working for a company that doesn’t do everything by the books and maybe after something else.

Devil’s Advocate manages to put the characters that could be conceded evil in defence lawyers be turned into the actual home of the devil. It is hinted heavily throughout and the lack of real involvement in what actually is happening in the case shows us the cases are not the most important side of the story. Showing the mental stat of Mary Ann works well because as she loses her mind and the parallels between Mary Ann and Kevin’s transformations become important to the final outcome. This is a very well told story that tries to keep you guessing throughout. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Keanu Reeves: Kevin Lomax hot young lawyer who doesn’t seem to lose a case, he gets recruited by one of the top law firms in New York where he continues to shine in the courtroom. Keanu gives a good performance and shows he can have the intense scenes. (7/10)

 keanu

Al Pacino: John Milton the senior partner of the firm who has taken an interest in Kevin, he shows him around and becomes part father mentor to Kevin, John decides to give Kevin the biggest case in the city. Al gives a good performance who makes the scenes look effortless. (7/10)

pacino

Charlize Theron: Mary Ann Lomax, Kevin’s wife who loves the idea of moving to the big city but she soon starts to become unhinged by being alone in the apartment and making no new friends. Charlize does a good job showing she was a rising star in the business. (7/10)

 charlize

Support Cast: Devil’s Advocate has a supporting cast that includes fellow lawyers, clients and wives who mislead Mary Ann. They all help our characters end up with the decision they have to make.

 

Director Review: Taylor Hackford – Taylor does a good job directing by balancing between the two changes the married couple go through. (7/10)

 

Mystery: Devil’s Advocate does keep you guessing throughout to what is really going on. (8/10)

Thriller: Devil’s Advocate keeps you at the edge of your seat with how the case could go. (8/10)

Settings: Devil’s Advocate uses New York as the primary setting showing how easily looks can be deceiving. (9/10)

Suggestion: Devil’s Advocate is one to try, I don’t think it will be for everyone but it can be enjoyed. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Kevin’s ability to turn any case.

Worst Part: Slightly too long.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $152 Million

Budget: $57 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

Tagline: Don’t trust the devil

Trivia: Originally the film was a more special-effects oriented, blockbuster-type movie and was turned down by Al Pacino five times. But when Taylor Hackford went through a few script re-writes he offered it to Pacino again. Pacino liked it, but didn’t think he could portray Milton properly, and suggested Sean Connery or Robert Redford instead.

 

Overall: Devil’s Advocate is one of the most interesting films because it shows how it is about how far you would go for success.

Rating 72

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

logoDirector: Joss Whedon

Writer: Joss Whedon (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L Jackson, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgard, Andy Serkis

 

Plot: When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fight, Regroup, Fight, Repeat

 

Story: Avengers: Age of Ultron starts by showing our Avengers Iron Man (Downey Jr), Thor (Hemsworth) Captain America (Evans) Hawkeye (Renner) Hulk (Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Johansson) trying to take down Hydra in Slovakia. We get to see how they are finally working as a unit, but when Hydra have hidden weapons with Quicksilver (Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlett Witch (Olsen) what looks like a simple missing takes a turn when Hawkeye gets injured, but more worrying Tony gets tricked by the Scarlett Witch as the mission looks like a success when the team collect Loki’s staff.

Tony wants to use Loki’s Staff to create a dream peacekeeping system named Ultron. When Ultron takes over Jarvis we see its intentions are hostile and it decides that the only way to find peace would be to destroy all of the Avengers. Ultron reunites with Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch as they plan to eliminate the Avengers, while on the other side of the battles we watch how the Avengers look for clues to where Ultron is and what went wrong with the programming.

Ultron continues its plan to take over the world and the Avengers have to regroup while going into hiding before figuring out the next plan of attack in the attempts to stop Ultron from destroying the world.

Avengers: Age of Ultron has to really be looked at as an over the top filler before the big fight. We needed a film to finally show how united the Avengers have become and the fact they actually create the villain shows that we just need to see how they can work together to overcome more personal demons. I feel I am going to be very critical about this film mainly because I would have liked something stronger. I personally keep going on about how I think we need to see the villain actually win or have the upper hand by the end of the film much like Star Wars Empire Strikes Back did. I did like how we got to learn more about Hawkeye and Black Widow and focused a lot more about what Hawkeye was fighting for giving the Avengers a human feeling instead of having all the superheroes taking centre stage. I also feel most of the team got good amount of screen time and we have been able to avoid character development because of the previous films. I don’t feel this is up to the story levels we would expect from an Avengers film but I do think it does what it needs to entertain. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Robert Downey Jr: Tony Stark/Iron Man is back to his cocky self where he wants to use his superior intelligence to try and play God building a peacekeeping machine. This only ends up creating the next villain Ultron and Tony has to keep the team together while solving his latest problem. I did get confused how Tony was back working for the Avengers though because I believe he was meant to have given up on the superhero idea and we never learn why he goes back into it. Robert continues to show why he was perfect choice for Tony Stark but I do still wonder why we didn’t get more information about why Tony returned. (7/10)

 ironman

Chris Hemsworth: Thor is the God who is back on Earth fighting with the Avengers, we see how he can still struggle with Earth cultures but he almost goes into background support character. Chris does a good job but I feel his character falls too much into the background of the Avengers. (6/10)

thor

Mark Ruffalo: Bruce Banner/Hulk is as always conflicted with his dark side and we get an awkward romantic angle with Black Widow and lots of moping around about what he can’t control. Mark does a good job as we can see how conflicted he has become because of his alter ego. (7/10)

 hulk

Chris Evans: Steve Rogers/Captain America is the leader of the Avengers now and always tries to do the right thing for every move, we see how he goes toe to toe with Tony but makes sure the safety of the innocent is his priority. Chris shows why he is the leader well throughout making sure he takes centre stage whenever the team needs him. (7/10)

 captain america

Scarlett Johansson: Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow is a character we do get to learn more about her with deeper look into the past, along with the romantic angle with Bruce Banner. Scarlett gives us a different look at her character giving Scarlett a chance to show her skills. (7/10)

 widow

Jeremy Renner: Clint Barton/Hawkeye has plenty of surprises up his sleeves in this one, he actually ends up being the most important character in the film because he is showing the human side to what they are battling for. Jeremy gets to take his character to the front of the team and easily is the star improvement character. (8/10)

 hawkeye

James Spader: Ultron (Voice) is the creation of Tony’s where he uses the power from Loki’s Staff to discover a computer based intelligence that will take over while trying to find real peace in the world. James voice strikes fear with every word he says. (7/10)

 ultron

Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver is the supersonic runner who is against the Avengers and along with his twin sister keeps interfering with the plans of the Avengers against Ultron before seeing the errors of their ways. Aaron does a good job joining the massive cast showing he can join in like a regular with ease. (7/10)

 quicksilver

Elizabeth Olsen: Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch is the woman who has the ability to control the minds of anyone and uses her powers to let the Avengers see their worst nightmares. She also has the ability to fire something from her hands which never seems to get explained as she teams up with Ultron before learning the errors of her way and joining with the Avengers. Elizabeth makes for a great addition to the cast if only I knew more about her characters powers. (7/10)

 witch

Support Cast: Avengers: Age of Ultron has a mega supporting cast that includes plenty of familiar faces from the franchise popping up when the team need them.

 

Director Review: Joss Whedon – Joss give what all the fans boys want, he checks all the boxes for a Blockbuster but he lacks that originality he is famous for. (7/10)

 

Action: Avengers: Age of Ultron has so many action sequences that manage to show each of the Avengers powers/abilities too, but they are also familiar. (9/10)

Superhero: Avengers: Age of Ultron is what every superhero fan will enjoy, build the love for the characters. (9/10)

Thriller: Avengers: Age of Ultron makes you want to watch until the end but I don’t feel the villain threat feels dangerous enough. (7/10)

Settings: Avengers: Age of Ultron uses basic settings that don’t seem to make too much to make any effect on the film until the final one with the town floating away. (6/10)
Special Effects
: Avengers: Age of Ultron uses great effects to make everything look realistic throughout. (8/10)

Suggestion: Avengers: Age of Ultron is one for the popcorn film fan to enjoy, but you know this you never go into an Avenger movie looking for something serious. (Popcorn Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Banter.

Worst Part: Seen the fights before.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final one.

Funniest Scene: The Hammer lifting.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has a sequels planned with both individual and joint films

Post Credits Scene: Yes

Similar Too: Avengers Assemble

 

Oscar Chances: Could get a few for visual or special effects.

Budget: $250 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

Tagline: A new age begins

Trivia: James Spader was Joss Whedon’s first and only choice for the role of Ultron, because of his “hypnotic voice that can be eerily calm and compelling while also being very human and humorous”.

 

Overall: Avengers Age of Ultron is a glorified filler film, giving us a chance to see our favourite characters get another win over an unthreatening villain.

Rating 70

Trailer Alert – Area 51

Plot – Terror strikes when reporters visit a secret base that houses extraterrestrials.

Release Date:  No date for UK

Director: Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity)

What Looks Good? Looks like it will break the rules on investigating Area 51.

What Looks Bad? Very high definition for found footage.

Summary: I believe found footage can work and we know the director can handle the genre well. This looks like it could do with Aliens what Exists did with Bigfoot.

Questions:

Will I Be Watching? Yes

Will You Be Watching?

My Anticipation Rating – 76%

My Guess Rating – 70%

Will It Be Number One In UK? – No