Backtrace (2018)

Director: Brian A Miller

Writer: Mike Maples (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Ryan Guzman, Meadow Williams, Matthew Modine, Colin Egglesfield, Christopher McDonald

 

Plot: The lone surviving thief of a violent armored car robbery is sprung from a high security facility and administered an experimental drug.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull & Messy

 

Story: Backtrace starts with a bank robbery gone wrong as the three get gunned down, with Macdonald (Modine) being the lone survivor, detective Sykes (Stallone) arrives at the scene to figure out just what went down, hoping Macdonald can give him the answers.

With his memory lost Macdonald is offered a way out of a security prison by Lucas (Guzman) and Erin (Williams) so they can get to the bottom of what happened, for their own reasons using an experimental drug to unlock the memories he has of the robbery.

 

Thoughts on Backtrace

 

Characters – Sykes is the lead detective trying to piece together just what happened with the shootout and bank robbery along with the problem when the only survivor goes missing. Lucas leads a group that have taken the lone survivor as they look to backtrace his footsteps to learn just what happened for their own motivation. Erin is the nurse that uses the drug on the survivor, she makes sure he stays alive through Lucas’s team’s investigation. Macdonald is the lone survivor of the shootout, only he has lost his memory, he wants to know the truth himself and will go along with Lucas and his team to learn the answers.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone is in this movie, but he barely does anything or has much screen time, he is a generic detective figure that just doesn’t get enough time to make any sort of impact on this film. The rest of the performances in the film have little to no impact on anything we are seeing and by the end you will feel flat by the performances.

StoryThe story follows the different groups that are trying to learn the location of the missing money after a robbery goes wrong and only witness has lost his memory. The story tries to put intertwine the different characters which is designed to try and make twists along the way, only for things to become overly reliant on these attempted twists. The concept could have worked, but in the end this story falls majorly flat because the characters are written so dully you simply can’t connect to anyone in the film.

CrimeThe crime side of the film seems to have everybody involved in the story either being a criminal or a crime fighter and we never know which side to trust either.

SettingsThe film follows our characters going back through a crime situation, which only feels tired on just what is needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Ummm pass.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The storytelling process.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull action crime film that doesn’t get the storytelling done well, making most of the film feel boring because we simply can’t connect to the characters.

 

Overall: Uninteresting.

Rating

 

 

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Opinion Battles Results Worst Animated Sequel

Opinion Battles Results

Worst Animated Sequel

 

This round we have had an excellent selection of Bad Animated Sequels but just which one was the most popular?

2nd

Choice – Jungle Book 2 & Atlantis 2

Players – Tom and Myself

Points – 6

1st

Choice – Cars 2 and The Little Mermaid 2: Back to the Sea

Players – Emma, Kim, Table 9 Mutant, Movie Rob

Points – 12

This is the final round of Opinion Battles, the feature won’t be returns and congratulations to Movie Rob for being the final champion once again.

Here is the table, ( Kim – Tranquil Dreams, Cinema Parrot Disco, Rob – Movie Rob, Damien Riley – Riley Film Reviews, Emma – Emma Explains It All, S.G. Liput – Rhyme and Reason, Rachel – 54 Disney Reviews, Tom – Plain Simple Tom Reviews, Milo – Stuff and That)

 

2018 Review and Thank You Letter

2018 has been another excellent year for Movie Reviews 101, I bought in a new feature which is pushing me to watch an even wider range of movies, while other features have faded away. On a personal level I started writing on another website, Ready Steady Cut, my Youtube Channel is still plugging along, hoping to get more subscribers and videos up this year.

I would like to thank everybody who has read a single review, taken part in Opinion Battles, joined the ABC Film Challenge, commented and the publicists and filmmakers that haven given me a chance to watch their movies.

In 2019 things are going to continue to go strong, with a few changes.

First Opinion Battles will not be returning this year, this is because the voting has sunk to record lows and the subjects are becoming harder to select.

The ABC Film Challenge is continuing with the follow subjects

·         January – Favourites from 2018

·         February – Oscar Nominations

·         March – Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Films/characters, a month dedicated to one of my favourite actors)

·         April – Action Movies

·         May – Biopic

·         June – World Cinema

·         July – Crime

·         August – Franchise Ranking

·         September – Thriller

·         October – Horror

·         November – James Bond Franchise

·         December – Anticipating for 2020

If you want to join in with reviews or recommendation you are more than welcome to send them to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk

I am looking to continue to bring you all more reviews from the biggest and the smallest budget films from around the world.

Thank you all once again, it means so much to me to be able to continue the site with my hope that one day I could make a small living off this.

Darren

Movie Reviews 101

Jude Law Weekend – Side Effects (2013)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Scott Z Burns (Screenplay)

Starring: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta Jones, Channing Tatum

 

Plot: A young woman’s world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Crime Thriller

 

Story: Side Effects starts with a bloody apartment before we flash back to 3 months earlier, we meet Emily Taylor (Mara) whose husband Martin (Tatum) is about to be released from a 4-year stint in prison for insider trading. Once released Emily’s depression comes back hard and she even tries to kill herself.

Dr Jonathan Banks (Law) takes Emily on as a patient looking to help cure these thoughts and after consulting with a former doctor, Victoria Siebert (Zeta-Jones), Banks agrees to try Emily on a new drug which does give her unusual side effects, one of which was murder, now Banks must prove whether this was just a side effect or his own mistake.

 

Thoughts on Side Effects

 

Characters/PerformanceEmily Taylor is a troubled young lady dealing with to depression, she gets treatment and things start to getting better only for the side effects of the new drug taking over, one leading to murder. Dr Banks is the man treating Emily and willing to try a new drug for her treatment but after she murders her husband, his life starts to come crumbling down around him, his practise dries up, his personal life becomes difficult and now he must rebuild it all. Martin is the husband who has been released from prison trying to get his life back on track with his wife. Dr Victoria Siebert is the former doctor of Emily that suggest the drug.

Performance wise, Jude Law is good through this film and is convincing as a man whose life is falling apart. Rooney Mara is also good as the unstable woman. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum both give good supporting performances too.

StoryThe story does start off being about a young woman that needs treatment for her depression but soon turns into a mystery that is filled with twist and turns that will only keep you guessing. I wasn’t sure going into this movie because dealing with the depression can be difficult subject matter but the twist makes things reach a new level of interest that only keeps us guessing which is always good.

Crime/MysteryThe crime and mystery side of the film only come out in the second half because the twist brings this drama to life.

SettingsEach setting shows us where the characters come from to show us just how desperate the characters are during twists in the story.

Final ThoughtsThis film does start slow but the twist in the half way mark is one of the most interesting twists to a film which does keep us guessing.

 

Overall: Interesting thriller that saves the slow start.

Rating

 

 

Jude Law Weekend – Dom Hemingway (2013)

Director: Richard Shepard

Writer: Richard Shepard (Screenplay)

Starring: Jude Law, Richard E Grant, Demian Bichir, Emilia Clarke

 

Plot: After spending 12 years in prison for keeping his mouth shut, notorious safe-cracker Dom Hemingway is back on the streets of London looking to collect what he’s owed.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical British Crime Comedy

 

Story: Dom Hemingway starts as Dom (Law) is released from jail after serving 12-years, he heads straight back to his criminal friends in Dickie Black (Grant) who is planning to take him to the boss he kept quiet for Mr Fontaine (Bichir). Getting his reward for keeping quiet a crazy night partying changes everything as Dom has his money stolen and people end up dead.

Returning home Dom tries to reconnect with his daughter Evelyn (Clarke) who has her family now as Dom wants to make up for lost time. This will be the hardest challenge of Dom’s life if he accepts it or will he dive back into the criminal life.

 

Thoughts on Dom Hemingway

 

Characters/PerformanceDom Hemmingway is a loud foul-mouthed criminal fresh out of prison, he is violent and doesn’t hold out on what he thinks, no matter who he offends. You want to support him but he easy to hate with his nature. Dickie is the loyal friend that tries to keep Dom on the right path even though he has been working on the criminal line, but he does stick by Dom. Evelyn is the daughter of Dom who wants nothing to do with him. She has made her own life without him and is happy.

Performance wise, Jude Law is fantastic in this leading role, even if I didn’t enjoy the character, he does fully commit to the role. Richard E Grant gets his good moments through the film and Emilia Clarke is only a smaller part but you would feel like she would have a bigger role now.

StoryThe story follows one man needing to make up for his biggest mistake of his life, all because he believed he would get what he deserved once he was released from prison. The story is by the book and can be difficult to watch in places because of the constant swearing and you would have liked more focus on the daddy daughter relationship over the wild partying.

Comedy/CrimeThe crime world we find ourselves in is well designed because we are given an aging criminal, the comedy comes from the completely over the top character of Dom Hemmingway.

SettingsThe settings show us the two worlds Dom cold be part of and how he can’t make up for what he did in order to be the man he wants now.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good story of redemption for a criminal who lost years of his life with his actions, there is a lot of swearing which seems like it is there just for the sake of it which could turn people away from the film, but Jude Law is fantastic in this role.

 

Overall: Jude Law shines in this one.

Rating