An Acceptable Loss (2018)

Director: Joe Chappelle

Writer: Joe Chappelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Tika Sumpter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Tavassoli, Jeff Hephner, Deanne Dunagan, Alex Weisman


Plot: Libby teaches at a university but 4 years ago she was top aide to VP Rachel and was part of a total victory action. Rachel is now US president and worried about Libby keeping quiet. Libby also has a student spying on her.

Tagline – The Truth is a Moving Target

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: An Acceptable Thriller


Story: An Acceptable Loss starts as Libby (Sumpter) takes a new job in education, her former career saw her working under the Vice President Rachel (Curtis) being part of a campaign known as ‘Total Victory’ which saw her career change. Libby’s new job shows how she doesn’t have any forms of communication and one of the students Martin (Tavassoli) has taken an extra interest in her life, following her around, spying her on her.

Rachel now being President sends her Chief of Staff Adrian (Hephner) and former lover of Libby to make sure she isn’t going to spill the beans on what happened in this case, all while Libby is trying to make sure she can just get on with her life.


Thoughts on An Acceptable Loss


Characters – Libby once worked for the Vice President on one of the most controversial projects in defence and dealing with potential terrorist against America, she has left this job because of what happened trying to find a new career in education, she wants to stay off the radar with how she lives, which sees her avoid her former colleagues and fellow members of the faculty. Rachel is the former Vice-President, now President who is trying to tie up the loose ends of operation Total Victory, this will see her challenge Libby on whether she will expose the truth of her actions. Martin is a student that has taken an interest in Libby following her around spying on her looking for some kind of answer. Adrian is the Chief of Staff and former lover of Libby’s, he has been assigned to keep Libby quiet.

PerformancesTika Sumpter does give us a strong performance, we do see how her guilt is controlling her life, while showing how she will do what she can to fix her mistake. Jamie Lee Curtis is the star of the film because every time she is on camera we seeing everything upped to the next level. Ben Tavassoli and Jeff Hepnher both complete the main cast and both do a solid enough role.

StoryThe story follows a former staff worker for the Vice President and one of the major parts of a project which saw many people killed, she has moved on with her life away from politics, hoping to one day tell the truth against the now current President. This story is a heavy political set up which shows us just how they will do anything to cover up any secrets, the story does jump around between the two times and careers that Libby has which does just come and go way to often. The problem with this story comes from the fact this could have been a lot more intense because of the subject matter we are going into.

ThrillerThe could be a thriller that is truly one of the most intense movies of the year, because the subject could have been showing bigger consequences instead of a couple of friendly conversations.

SettingsThe film is set in the everyday location, it shows how easy it could be to get people coming after somebody who might hold a secret.

Scene of the Movie –
Jamie Lee Curtis scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does become very predictable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a predictable thriller that does tackle a bigger subject matter that goes through cover ups, we are saved by Jamie Lee Curtis scene stealing performance.


Overall: Predictable, through entertaining.




The Runner (2015)

runner-scoreDirector: Austin Stark

Writer: Austin Stark (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Sarah Paulson, Peter Fonda, Connie Nielsen, Wendel Pierce, Bryan Batt, Christopher Berry


Plot: In the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, an idealistic but flawed politician is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed in a sex scandal.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Standard Political Drama


Story: The Runner starts as Louisiana is dealing with the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, politician Colin Pryce (Cage) wants to supporting his state who are not getting supported after the spill which is take jobs from the good people. His fight gets national attention as he starts to fight for the people whose lives are being destroyed.

When it is made public that Colin has had an affair behind his wife Deborah’s (Nielsen) back the state turns on him forcing him to resign and come back stronger as he continues to fight for the people of Louisiana he could make a comeback unlike anyone in the political world.


Thoughts on The Runner


StoryThis is a very political drama story 101 job we have one man who was great for the people lose his role for affair and goes through tough tests before looking to make the comeback, you have nothing overly interesting going on here in what is a standard political drama.

ThrillerWhile this is more drama based you are kept wondering how Colin can bring his career back around by continuing to do the right thing.

Characters/PerformanceColin is based on a real person who does want to do the right thing for the people but isn’t the most morale correct when it comes to his personal life, this makes him an easy target in a political story. we do have other characters who are all part of the decision-making process that Colin goes through but none really make an impact. When you look at the performances they are all average without being any of the actor’s high points.

SettingsThe settings are all real to the Louisiana as we see the different levels of working classes all dealing with the same problem after the BP oil spill but none of the locations come off feeling memorable.

Final ThoughtsGrab your text books and you will see how to make this movie with ease adding nothing special within the film.


Overall: Not the best, not the worst just forgettable.




ABC Film Challenge – Crime – L – Live by Night (2016)

Director: Ben Affleck

Writer: Ben Affleck (Screenplay) Dennis Lehane (Novel)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Remo Girone, Brendan Gleeson, Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Chris Cooper, Chris Messina


Plot: A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan.

Tagline – The American Dream has a price

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Overly Long & Complex


Story: Live by Night starts as we meet Joe Coughlin (Affleck) a former soldier in World War I, who returned to Boston to live the life of crime as an outlaw. When Joe gets blackmailed into killing his boss or risk having his boss learn about his secret affair with his girlfriend Emma (Miller) he finds himself in the middle of a battle he didn’t want a part of.

After the secret is revelled Joe is left for dead blamed for killing cops, after 3 years in jail he gets sent to Florida to track down Albert White, to stop his business and kill him for the new gangster running things in Boston.

With his being a success Joe ends up clashing with the Klux Klan while trying to continue to watch the money roll in to his bosses and even himself.


Thoughts on Live by Night


Characters – Joe Coughlin is our narrator our gangster, well reluctant gangster, forced into the world after his life as an outlaw gets him mixed up with the wrong people. We learn he is fantastic at handling himself in the meeting striking a deal and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The other characters seem to just be in chapters of his life, Emma is in Boston being a love interest, while Graciela business partner and lover in Florida. Chief Figgis is the man that will let Joe conduct business and to be honest we don’t get to learn enough about them to care about.

PerformancesBen Affleck is the only lead performer in this movie, he is fine through the film, he doesn’t reach the levels we know he can. When you dive into the supporting cast we get a host of known names and even unknowns who get the same amount of time that are solid without anyone standing out.

StoryThe story follows Joe Coughlin as he starts out as a thief and becomes a gangster, this should work and I would have been fine with this, the problems build up as we see how many different situations Joe must solve to get the next chapter of the story through, because we don’t get enough time to see the problems he must overcome and everything just becomes glimpses into the gangster life without doing anything new.

Action/CrimeWe have plenty of shooting going on, though the final one does feel like a level of Grand Theft Auto. This does from us into a gangster heavy crime world where the prohibition is ongoing through America.

SettingsThe settings place us in the prohibition era America, be it Boston or Florida nothing does seem out of place with these locations.

Scene of the Movie –
Final shoot-out.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not giving us the time to know the supporting characters.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy gangster film, it has the moments of potential but in the end just jumps too fast to grab us to care about certain moments which do seem to have a bigger impact on the story.


Overall: Disappointing, ending Affleck’s streak behind the camera.