Franchise Weekend – Jarhead 3 The Siege (2016)

Director: William Kaufman

Writer: Chad Law, Michael D Weiss (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlie Weber, Scott Adkins, Tom Ainsley, Erik Valdez, Dante Basco, Sasha Jackson, Dennis Haysbert


Plot: A group of Marines must protect a US Embassy in the Middle East when it suddenly comes under attack from enemy forces.


Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Basic Siege Movie


Story: Jarhead 3: The Siege starts as new recruit Evan Albright (Weber) who has just gotten a role working in the US Embassy in the Middle East, welcomed by Hansen (Ainsley) and under the orders from Gunny Raines (Adkins) with the job to protect the Ambassador Cahill (Hogan). With Evan going through the lesson of how to operate in the embassy we are ready to begin.

Evan notices somebody outside the normal outside the embassy, which soon sees him learning the lessons of the protocol. The marines find the embassy under siege and must use all their training to keep the Ambassador alive against countless enemies.


Thoughts on Jarhead 3: The Siege


Characters – Evan is the newest marine bought into the embassy, he does fill in the gaps for the protocol that must be followed by the team, learn to work with the rest of the unit and is the first to suspect something is going on around the embassy and ends up being the one leading the fight back. Gunny Raines is the leader of the marines, you play by his rules or face the consequences. Major Lincoln is the one leading the rescue attempt, bringing the back-up required to hopefully help the stranded marines, spends most of the film in a helicopter racing to the scene. Olivia Winston is the computer operative at the embassy, she like Evan has bigger dreams when it comes to rising up through the military rankings.

PerformancesCharlie Weber does take the leading role here where we follow his character entering the world, he works as a soldier never setting the world alight, which can be same for the whole cast sees Scott Adkins, Sasha Jackson and Dennis Haysbert.

StoryThe story here follows a newly recruit marine in an US embassy that must deal with a siege from the locals on the building meaning he will join the marines to show off their skills to defend the embassy. This is one of the simplest stories you will ever see, we follow Evan as he and we learn the lay of the land, the siege is everything you would expect too, following the usual ideas of needing to have safety and out live the numbers that are trying to kill you. It does feel like the story is safe rather than challenging.

Action/WarThe action plays into the war side of the film, we get plenty of military manoeuvres to see bullets flying around.

SettingsThe settings in the film show us the embassy and how the marines operate within it, we see how this makes the positions difficult to defend.

Scene of the Movie –
The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too by the books.

Final ThoughtsThis is an easy to follow military action film, it doesn’t do anything wrong, only it just seems to be by the book and overly safe.


Overall: Safe Military Film.




Franchise Weekend – Jarhead (2005)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writer: William Broyles Jr (Screenplay) Anthony Swofford (Book)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Scott MacDonald, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Ming Lo, Lucas Black


Plot: A psychological study of operations desert shield and desert storm during the gulf war; through the eyes of a U.S marine sniper who struggles to cope with the possibility his girlfriend may be cheating on him back home.

Tagline – Every man fights his own war.

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow and Effective War Film


Story: Jarhead starts as we meet Anthony Swofford (Gyllenhaal) who joined the marines, it isn’t long before he gets taken by Staff Sgt Sykes (Foxx) to the US Marine Sniper division going through the training regime meeting his spotter Alan Troy (Sarsgaard).

When war breaks out the marines are set to the middle east, where they must adapt to the desert condition before going into to conflict, this will test their psychical shape and their mental health as the waiting is just part of the sniper’s game.


Thoughts on Jarhead


Characters – Anthony Swofford who wrote the book the film is based on, we see how he joined the military out of college and struggled at first through the training regime. Anthony soon discovered he was ready for this life as a sniper, but his time in the gulf sees him start to lose his mind. Alan Troy becomes the best friend of Anthony’s and his spotter, he seems to be the most level-headed marine in the unit. Staff Sgt Sykes is the one running the sniper unit, he demands respect and isn’t afraid to put the marines in their place.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is fantastic in the leading role, he shows everyone how he can play the calm soldier, the crazed soldier and the broken man through the scenes of the film which only increase what he is dealing with. Peter Sarsgaard give us a brilliant supporting performance which shows how the fear can be kept inside a calm outer layer. Jamie Foxx brings us the energy of a career military man.

StoryThe story follows the experiences of one soldier that joins the marines before being put in the sniper division when war breaks out, he must adapt to life in the desert during the waiting game before the conflict. This story does show us just how difficult adapting to war can be for the soldiers and just how the war can be fought without needing to fire a weapon. It shows us just how the mindset can change over a set amount of time which will see the soldiers make decisions they wouldn’t normally consider making. This does focus on the idea that the main soldier Anthony never truly feels like he was part of the war followed by the effects of returning back from war can have on the soldiers who have returned.

Biopic/WarThis film follows Anthony’s experience with war, it shows how war isn’t everything he was planning and how his mindset wasn’t in the right place for parts of his experience. The war side of the film shows us just how different war has become over the years, where the ground soldiers are not as required as once before.

SettingsThe film has some wonderful uses of settings with the march sequence showing us just how open the area in question will be for the soldiers.

Scene of the Movie –
Returning home.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slow start.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fascinating look at the modern war effort, how the biggest problem is now waiting for the war to begin rather than the fighting.


Overall: Modern war time.




Dolls (2019)

Director: Cuyle Carvin

Writer: Justin Hawkins, Josh Hawkins (Screenplay) Jeff Miller, Justin Hawkins (Story)

Starring: Thomas Downey, Dee Wallace, Trinity Simpson, Bret Green, Elise Muller, Melinda DeKay


Plot: A struggling children’s book author and his rebellious teenage daughter move into a house they’ve inherited and find mysterious dolls in the attic. The father and daughter soon learn that the dolls have a sinister – and deadly – past.

Tagline – When You Look Away They Play

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Creepy Dolls


Story: Dolls starts when alcoholic children’s book author Robert Holbrook (Downey) moves into his recently deceased mother’s home to start work on his latest work, when he is joined by his teenage daughter Sammey (Simpson) who wants to get away from her mother.

When Robert and Sammey discover three creepy dolls in the attic, Robert decides that he wants to use these characters to create his latest story, known as the Attic Dolls. When a sister of a former patient Margaret (Wallace) appears, she warns Sammey about the evil inside the dolls that come out to play when you look away.


Thoughts on Dolls


Characters – Robert is an alcoholic children’s author, he has made mistakes in his life which has left his family facing financial ruin, his daughter struggle to be able to face a college future, he has moved out to focus on his new book, which will see him being joined by his daughter. The latest book idea uses the creepy dolls found in the attic of his mother’s home, which will see him suffer nightmares as he looks to withdraw from his drinking problems. Sammey is his 17-year-old daughter who wants to live with him over her mother, she has been on certain medications, though it is unclear what is wrong with her to need them. She first gets scared by the dolls believing the story she hears about them, while trying to remain rebellious about her future. Margaret was the sister of one of the patient’s of Robert’s mother, she warns the family about the evil from the dolls which might be connected to the deaths.

PerformancesThomas Downey is strong through the film, we believe that he is going through troubles. Trinity Simpson is entertaining in her role, she brings the fear of what is going on to make us believe everything happening. Dee Wallace is the biggest name in the film, she is in a supporting role, which lets her bring the experience to the film.

StoryThe story here follows a family that move into a house of a deceased relative only to discover three creepy dolls in the attic, soon strange things start happening around the house as it appears the dolls come to life when people aren’t looking. This story does play into the creepy dolls genre of horror which does to use mental health and addiction to try and reflect the situation going on through the events of the film. It does start by going in one direction, but it does feel like it is going to target on a rampage, then throws another twist to them in and it does seem to rush a lot of the story going on through the film. it does end in a very confusing manor which could make most of the film feel almost redundant.

HorrorThe horror in this comes from the dolls which do feel creepy and make us feel uneasy wondering what they will be doing next.

SettingsThe film is set in the one location which is the house, it is filled with locations where the dolls could sneak around without being seen, only heard, which does play into the rules created.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are only used when they are needed, they are simply with certain small movements which does help the film unfold.

Scene of the Movie –
The dolls appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending.

Final ThoughtsThis is a new creepy doll movie, which has been the it feature at the moment, with Child’s Play and Annabelle in the cinema, this one does have a creepy feel to it even if the story does seem to be rushed.


Overall: Creepy Fun horror.




Beyond the Line (2019)

Director: Jason Mills

Writer: Jason Mills (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Walters, Jackson Berlin, Darren Andrichuk, Stephen Kloppenburg, Robert Allen Hughes


Plot: It’s the close of World War II. Unwilling to surrender, rogue German forces shoot down a returning British squadron leaving Sydney Baker wounded and lost with the enemy closing in. He’s saved by American soldier and the duo must face their fears, both internal and external, to defeat the enemy and make it back to friendly territory alive.

Tagline – Never Give Up

Runtime: 1 Hour 18 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Survivors Story


Story: Beyond the Line starts with the German’s surrendering in World War II, only certain forces of the German’s aren’t going down without a fight, as they shoot down a British squadron with the lone survivor Sydney Baker (Walters) finding himself trapped behind enemy lines, rescued by American William Summers (Berlin) the two team up to try and get to safety against the large number of German soldiers still in the woods.

As the number of German bodies piles up, the more German soldiers go in search for the enemy taking out their own, with the two-man army needing to face impossible odds to survive.


Thoughts on Beyond the Line


Characters – Sydney Baker is a nervous soldier that is on his final mission, he is involved in a plane crash after being shot down, being the lone survivor, needing to find his way through enemy lines woodland area. He must learn to be a soldier that will fight if he has any chance to survive with the help of William Summers. William Summers is an American soldier that is out for revenge against the Germans that took out his whole unit, he will kill anybody that gets his way and even pushes Sydney to become stronger in the field.

PerformancesWe only have two actors who get any real screen time, Chris Walters is our British solider that shows us how many soldiers weren’t ready to be in war, while Jackson Berlin does show how prepared a soldier would be to fight for the right thing. Both actors don’t put a foot wrong through the film which is nice to see, even if they don’t get challenged as much as they could be.

StoryThe story here follows to soldiers that are trapped behind enemy lines, where they must fight to survive against the Germans looking to hunt down any remaining soldiers left in their land. This is a very simple story when it comes to a war story, we get the basics of surviving done without feeling like we are facing threat that you feel will put them in danger, even though they are in extreme danger. The story is told in the form of a flashback which does give us heavy vibes about how Saving Private Ryan did everything, even if it goes in its own direction. It does show us how two different people will need to work together to make it through the tough situation they find themselves in too.

WarWhen it comes to the war genre, one of the major factors we see a lot, is just how difficult the situation the soldiers found themselves in and how many odds they needed to overcome as well as how not everybody was in the right condition to be fighting in the first place, this give us all of that.

SettingsThe film is set within woodland area, this shows us the struggles the soldiers are facing, while giving them enough cover to make it out of the situation, if they play it correctly.

Scene of the Movie –
The barn.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of feeling of peril.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong look at how the war did make things difficult for the soldiers fighting, how they must overcome the odds if they want to survive.


Overall: A strong war survival story.




Robert the Bruce (2019)

Director: Richard Gray

Writer: Eric Belgau, Angus Macfadyen (Screenplay)

Starring: Angus Macfadyen, Anna Hutchison, Zach McGowan, Diarmaid Murtagh, Gabriel Bateman, Talitha Bateman, Emma Kenney, Daniel Portman, Patrick Fugit, Merlora Walters, Shane Coffey, Brandon Lessard, Kevin McNailly, Jared Harris


Plot: The story of nobleman-turned-outlaw hero who was crowned king of Scots in the 14th century.

Tagline – He Empowered a People, He Fought for Freedom, To Defy An Empire.

Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Scottish History Without the Battles


Story: Robert the Bruce starts after William Wallace is defeated, Robert the Bruce (Macfadyen) and John Comyn (Harris) are fighting for control of Scotland, with John coming up the winner, Robert isn’t willing to take this defeat laying down, with his loyal soldiers James Douglas (Murtagh) planning to take Scotland back.

With Robert injured, Morag (Hutchison) and her family discover him, nursing him back to health despite being in a heavily Comyn control area, with Brandubh (McGowan) hunting down anyone who supporting Robert the Bruce, he must regain his strength to take his rightful place on the throne of Scotland.


Thoughts on Robert the Bruce


Characters – Robert the Bruce is the man that was crowned king of Scotland after the English were defeated, he wasn’t everybody’s first choice, which sees him needing to fight for his place on the throne, which sees him being left for dead, while his opposition takes control of the land, eliminating anybody who supports him. John Comyn is the other man that believes he could be king of Scotland, he has taken control in the battle against Robert, which sees him continuing to use the connections with English, much to anger of the Scots. Morag is the single mother that saw her husband killed fighting for Robert, she must raise her children believing John is the rightful ruler, either if her stories tell of Robert’s bravery.  Brandubh is related to Morag, he is willing to kill anybody that doesn’t fight for his own country, which sees him trying to hunt down Robert the Bruce.

PerformancesAngus Macfadyen reprises his former role of Robert the Bruce, one he played in Braveheart, he brings us a wise leader performance through the film. Jared Harris might have a supporting role, but after this year, you want to pause and watch any scene this man is in. Anna Hutchison does bring us a stronger performance than you would expect from her, with her getting to show that she can handle a serious role. Zach McGowan does a lot of the heavy lifting in this film, he is the one that gets to handle the most action through the film, with him being the villain for large parts of the film which otherwise would involve less action.

StoryThe story here follows Robert the Bruce who became of the King of Scotland in the aftermath of the William Wallace battles against the English. Now this is set up to be some what of a sequel to Braveheart, which it is only in continuing a story, not in film story. we do play into the idea of how Scotland was left in the unknown after the battle, with two people fighting for the leadership, with the people left divided and calm required to make the land complete once again. The pacing of the story does come off slow in places which doesn’t help because, it is mostly a mother trying to prove to her children who should be king, and who they should tell people they respect more to remain safe. If you know your history the end of the film isn’t going to be a mystery to you and it does feel like there could have been a bigger impact with certain things that happen in this story.

HistoryThis is a history lesson to the people that wanted to know more historic accuracy behind Scotland’s independence from England, unlike what Braveheart did.

SettingsThe film does make us feel like we are in part of Scotland, we get to see how the condition made the events of the film difficult for the men fighting for the rightful cause.

Scene of the Movie –
The crown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is about 30 minutes too long for everything that is told in this story.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look at the history of Robert the Bruce and his rise to become king of Scotland, seeing how he overcame odds to take his place on the throne. Everything is acted well, never looking out of place.


Overall: History lesson.