El Dorado (1967)

Director: Howard Hawks

Writer: Leigh Brackett (Screenplay) Harry Brown (Novel)

Starring: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix, Arthur Hunnicutt, Michele Carey

 

Plot: Cole Thornton, a gunfighter for hire, joins forces with an old friend, Sheriff J.P. Hara. Together with an old Indian fighter and a gambler, they help a rancher and his family fight a rival rancher that is trying to steal their water.


Tagline – Range War! A lawless time when no man dares turn his back… even to a friend!

Runtime: 2 Hours 6 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Western

 

Story: El Dorado starts when Sheriff Harrah (Mitchum) turns to his former gunslinger partner Cole Thornton (Wayne) for assistance against a ruthless rancher Bart Jason (Asner) who wants to force another rancher off their land.

Cole meets a young man Mississippi (Caan) that proves he can handle himself in a fight, which sees him continue to build a team to take down Bart Jason once and for all.

 

Thoughts on El Dorado

 

Characters – Cole Thornton is the gunslinger for hire, he doesn’t mind which side of the law he works as long as he gets paid, his loyalty comes back to show that sometimes he doesn’t get bought, when his old friend comes asking for help, he will help people he does believe are getting into trouble for the right reasons and will fight for the people next to the people he trusts the most. Sheriff J.P. Harrah turns to his old friend for help, only to see him turn to the bottle after failing to help on the levels he most requires. Mississippi is the young bounty hunter that is deadly with a knife, he will need to use a gun if he is to work with Cole, who he wants to learn from.

PerformancesJohn Wayne is one of the most famous actors for westerns, he really is a commanding presence on screen even if he doesn’t always hit up the most realistic acting. Robert Mitchum gives us a performance that gets laughs at time and easily goes through the biggest arc through the film. James Caan does well when he gets his time to shine, though he does get overshadowed in places.

StoryThe story follows two men from either sides of the law that team up to take down a rancher and his men that are causing problems in the town. When it comes to westerns nearly every single story is the same, the law makers and reluctant gun for hire joins forces to take on a troublesome group of ranchers or outlaws or something, this is everything we have seen before without needing to offer anything new to the mix. We get a time jump which does come randomly which does disappoint too. We do have a mentor like position which ends up falling short in the way everything pans out.

Romance/WesternThere is meant to be a romance angle in this film which doesn’t seem very interesting in anyway, the western side of the film is everything you are expecting it to be without taking away any of the normal western traits.

SettingsThe film is set in the normal western towns which feels like the sets most likely were used in other films too.


Scene of the Movie –
Drunk J.P.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is just like every other western.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book western, it is easy to follow with stronger performances, but just offers nothing new to the genre.

 

Overall: Simple Western.

Rating

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – K – Kill List (2011)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump (Screenplay)

Starring: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley, Emma Fryer, Struan Rodger

 

Plot: Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings. What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unsettling Thriller

 

Story: Kill List starts as we meet Jay (Maskell) who is married to Shel (Buring) with a young boy Sam (Simpson), the couple are always arguing and with Jay’s best friend and business partner Gal (Smiley) coming to dinner, a job offer is placed on the table.

The job for Jay & Gal who are hitmen that have taken a back burner after a job went wrong are sent to eliminate targets for their next client which leads them down a brutal path which will only leave them in complete shock.

 

Thoughts on Kill List

 

Characters – Jay is the former hitmen that is trying to move away from the job, one year after his final job he is talked into one more job which will give him enough money to cover the financial problems his family is going through. The job starts simple enough only for it to turn him into a paranoid angry man who is taking everything personally. Shel is Jay’s wife, she is frustrated with the fact he has spent most of their money forcing him to return to the work he was meant to leave behind, always arguing with him even though it is clear the love between the two is strong. Sam is the innocent young child of the two. Gal is the partner and best friend of Jay, he is the one that tries to keep his head on his shoulders, he sees his friend losing his mind and puts him back on track for the most part.

PerformancesNeil Maskell in the leading role is great because we see how he makes us feel as unsettled as his character is meant to be through the film. Michael Smiley as the main supporting character and he helps us understand how things needed to become calm through the bad times. MyAnna Buring as the wife is good without getting that moment that standout.

StoryThe story follows two hitmen that must take one job which seems simple only to take a dramatic twist along the way. This is a story which starts out on a path which you know the two hitmen are not the nice guys and soon things just get weird with every encounter things start to play out like they have never dealt with before which only grabs the audience to want to know what will happen next to the characters. this gives us an unsettling feeling from start to finish with a conclusion that will leave you jaw-dropped in true surprise with how everything ended up. This is from director Ben Wheatley who has always managed to give his stories a unique feel, this is why people will rave over this director for years.

Crime/HorrorThis movie takes us into the crime world in which Jay and Gal operate in as hitmen, we get to see how they go about this job, conduct kills, clean ups and get on with life. The horror comes from early hints in the film before showing us the true nature to everything going on which will become horrifying,

SettingsThe film shows us the settings used by the hitmen to be everyday locations where the predators they believe they are killing operate without anyone knowing. This helps us understand the dangers of not knowing everything about our neighbours.


Scene of the Movie –
That ending.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Jay isn’t the most likeable character.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most shocking and unsettling films you will see, it has suspense throughout and an ending you will NEVER forget.

 

Overall: Suspenseful treat.

Rating

 

 

Hellmington (2018) Movie Review

Director: Justin Hewitt-Drakulic, Alex Less Williams

Writer: Justin Hewitt-Drakulic, Alex Less Williams, Michelle Aseltine (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicola Correia-Damude, Michael Ironside, Yannick Bisson, Monica Parker, Gabe Grey, Allegra Fulton, Kyra Harper, Andelica Stirpe

Plot: A detective investigates her father’s dying words; the name of a girl who has been missing for 9 years.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tense Investigation Film

Story: Hellmington starts when detective Samantha Woodhouse (Correia-Damude) returns home with her father on his death bed, gets one final message from him, a name of a missing girl, Samantha turns to her Uncle Rupert (Ironside) to try and unlock the case, which sees her start her own investigation.

The more Samantha investigates the more secrets of the town she must learn about, including her own past, all while being stalked by an unknown presence which seems to have targeted her.

Thoughts on Hellmington

Characters – Samantha Woodhouse is a detective from a big city, she returns home with her father being on his deathbed, to help plan for the next stage, she decides to stick around after learning about missing person that hasn’t ever been solved, where she must face her own connection of her past, while trying to understand what actually happened to the missing girl. Rupert is the Uncle to Samantha, he is the local sheriff that bought her back, only to wish for her to leave the case alone. Professor Freeborn is one of the locals experts that is helping Samantha understand the truth around what might be happening. We do meet a host of potential suspects, or residents that do have a chapter to say when it comes to unlocking the truth.

PerformancesThis movie revolves around the performance Nicola Correia-Damude gives, she is involved in every scene and you can understand the mindset of her character as she both learns truths and faces pasts through the film. Michael Ironside might well be the biggest name in the film and does everything we need him to do. The rest of the cast is strong through the film too.

StoryThe story follows a detective that returns home for her father’s funeral, only to find herself investigating a missing persons case, one that does mean she must face her own past to learn the truth. This is an interesting story because it does show us how your past can come back to haunt you and investigating a bigger case can only make you see the people in your life in a different light. We do follow just one character which will show us how they are learning about the case, just as we are, which is nice too be left in the dark about certain parts instead of being given all answers. We do get pushed down different ideas of what is happening which does keep us guessing and will leave shocked by the truth.

HorrorThe film does use horror elements which involve how the Samantha is experience strange events while trying to uncover the truth.

SettingsThe film is set in one locations which is the hometown of the Samantha which is filled with memories, some she liked, others she doesn’t want to.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong when needed, we don’t use them too often which isn’t needed.


Scene of the Movie – The first visit of the stranger.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Slightly rushed finished.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting horror that deals with the investigation into a missing person, it has a wonderful leading lady performance and does keep you guessing.

Overall: Strong horror investigation.