Al Pacino Weekend – Pirates of Somalia (2017) Movie Review

Director: Bryan Buckley

Writer: Bryan Buckley (Screenplay) Jay Bahadur (Book)

Starring: Al Pacino, Evan Peters, Melanie Griffith, Barkhad Abdi, Philip Ettinger, Coral Pena, Russell Posner

Plot: In 2008, rookie journalist Jay Bahadur forms a half-baked plan to embed himself with the pirates of Somalia. He ultimately succeeds in providing the first close-up look into who these men are, how they live, and the forces that drive them.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Biopic 101

Story: Pirates of Somalia starts as we meet struggling journalist Jay Bahadur (Peters) who believes he has his path set after graduating with nothing planning on the way he had hoped. Jay ends up having a chance meeting with retired journalist Seymour Tolbin (Pacino) who teaches him the new wave of journalism.

Jay sees the story in Somalia, taking a chance, he ends up getting a chance to work under the president’s son to learn about the pirates of Somalia and how they operate, with his translator Abdi (Abdi) who is still torn between the new ways and the old.

Thoughts on Pirates of Somalia

Characters – Jay Bahadur is the narrator, this is his story of finishing college in 2008 and realizing there isn’t the job opportunities he believed in his field of journalism, the highlight of his life in rejection letters and trying to do research on the napkin placement on shelves, back living in his parent’s basement with his high school sweetheart moved on with her own life. He meets one of his idols who advise him on the new form of journalism, which sees Jay putting his life on the line by going to Somalia to write a book about the pirates of the land and prove there is a lot more to the new developing country than the media shows. Seymour Tolbin is a retired journalist who offers Jay advice and connections to increase his chances of getting a story together. Abdi is the translator that shows Jay around Somalia teaching him about the culture keeping him safe during his time there. We do get to meet the different people who are considered pirates by the outside world, but live a different life once you are there.

PerformancesEvan Peters is front a centre of this film, he is the strongest part of the performances, because the fear he shows would be what was real, though he must show it while remaining strong. Barkhad Abdi is great once again as a Somalian guide this time, even with the previous role as one of the pirates under his belt. Al Pacino is more of a cameo like performance, by strong enough in the supporting role in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a journalist graduate that isn’t finding work in the US and ends up traveling to Somalia to see if he can learn more about the idea of pirates running the country and show the world the truth about the country. This story is based on the book the journalist wrote after returning, it does show how the culture shock wasn’t as big as he once thought, as well as the alarming lack of jobs for graduates in America. While nearly all the film focuses on his learning experiences in Somalia, it does show how the media and the outside world can always see a country before learning more about it before judging.

BiopicThe biopic side of the film shows how Jay couldn’t get much out of his life until he took a big chance with his story in Somalia, it is his journey, his encounters, his life, though it does only show that this was his last resort, with no backup plan for somebody who graduated with a journalism degree.

SettingsSomalia is the setting for most of the film, it does highlight how the country is still developing and has evolved to maintain itself.

Scene of the Movie – Meeting the pirates.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does highlight how reckless Jay was, with his life choice, no plans after graduating seems naïve.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at just how hard life can be once you graduate, but if you can tell a big story, you can make yourself a star.

Overall: Interesting Biopic.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – Z – Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

This is under Z for the ABC film challenge because of the director Harald Zwart.

Director: Harald Zwart

Writer: Jessica Postigo (Screenplay) Cassandra Clare (Novel)

Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Robert Sheehan, Robert Maillet, Kevin Durand, Lena Headey


Plot: When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called the Shadow World.

Tagline – Worlds will collide August 21

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Young Adult Blah


Story: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones starts when normal teenagers Clary (Collins) starts seeing and drawing a mysterious symbol which her mother Jocelyn (Headey) knows more about, this draws attention towards her which sees her mother disappear and Jace (Bower) teaching her about her mother’s past as a warrior fighting demons.

Clary enters a mysterious world beneath New York City, where Jace shows her just how big the battle between the two sides is, with Valentine (Meyers) searching for Clary.


Thoughts on The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones


Characters – Clary is the normal teenager girl that has started seeing a strange symbol in her everyday life, this takes her down a new path to search for her mother, only to learn about her own true identity which will see her learning that she is a warrior that fights demons. Clary is the typical young adult figure that we always see, she isn’t given anything new to make her look special in anyway. Jace is the young man that is a shadow hunter that looks to protect Clary from the other evil forces that what her information. He leads the strongest team, he also becomes a love interest for Clary. Alec and Isabelle are the two other members of the team, they are suspicious of Clary and what it might mean to the rest of the shadow hunters futures. We do have plenty of senior figure that help guide the younger characters along their way, some help, some have their own motives.

PerformancesLily Collins does the best she can in this role, it is hard to figure out the mindset of the character which part of the problem in the performance. Jamie Campbell Bower struggles to, because it is trying to be mysterious only to look uninterested in what is happening, this is a problem most of the cast suffer from with only Jemima West being watchable because she does get some funny lines.

StoryThe story here follows a teenage girl that learns she has a connection to a battle between good and evil going on in our own world, where she is one of the most important parts of bringing an end to it all. This is one of those young adult stories that made such an impact, we somebody in this case Clary learn about a world she wasn’t aware of, where he presence in will change it for every side of the battle. We do get thrown into a lot of information here because we get to see just how big this world is meant to be and how many different types of creatures, demons and monsters are living with in it. This is also one of those frustrating opening chapters of a set of stories which is meant to be growing to become much large in the future, the film idea failed, but the story does get to go to the small screen for answers.

Action/Fantasy/Horror/RomanceThe action comes from the battles between the different demons in the world that are preparing to fight against each other, the fantasy world we enter should be a lot more entertaining because of the creatures involved. We get the cheap horror moments involved which never feel remotely scary in anyway. The romance is angle does get awkward in places and tries to build a love triangle too.

SettingsThe film is set in New York, which is fine, the idea that there is a world out there that we don’t know about should be a lot more entertaining and visual special too.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are the flashing lights involved in the fights, most work well, with the demons looking the best.

Scene of the Movie –
Demons pause.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not following instructions.

Final ThoughtsThis is another one of the young adult movies that just doesn’t do anything special and falls into the, ‘we have seen this before’ category.


Overall: Disappointing Young Adult Film.