Arkansas (2020) Movie Review

Director: Clark Duke

Writer: Andrew Boonkrong (Screenplay) John Brandon (Novel)

Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Vince Vaughn, Clark Duke, John Malkovich, Michael Kenneth Williams, Vivica A Fox

Plot: Kyle and Swin live by the orders of an Arkansas-based drug kingpin named Frog, whom they’ve never met. But when a deal goes horribly wrong, the consequences are deadly.

Tagline – Kyle and Swin are working their way to the top…but the top has other plans.

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Smooth & Calm

Story: Arkansas starts when small town drug deal Kyle (Hemsworth) getting a promotion, which takes him to Arkansas to work for Frog (Vaughn) a man he has never met, with connection is Swin (Duke), putting him on the first transportation mission, where they learn who is going to be their handler, Bright (Malkovich).

When Kyle and Swin decide to try and move up the ranks, they find themselves being hunted down by Frog, needing to use their new desire to keep them on the right side of the ruthless drug lord.

Thoughts on Arkansas

Characters – Kyle is the small town drug dealer that has been waiting for his chance in the big time, which he gets, working with Swin, rising up the ranks, he will get the dirty work done, he is the smarter of the two, knowing how to cover up the tracks and not just run from the situation. Swin is the man that gives Kyle the ins and outs of the area, he does talk more, he makes more reckless decisions. Frog is the ruthless drug lord that nobody knows who he truly is, he is the man that both the men are working for, while he is waiting for his chance to get his own back on the people who stole from him. Bright is the ranger who is the connection between Frog and the guys, he lets the guys know he is in control, giving the threats if they ever try and cross the line.

PerformancesLiam Hemsworth does give one of his better performances here, he seems to have matured to new levels here. Vince Vaughn is always entertaining in the villainous role, he works very well through this film, with Clark Duke not only starring, but directing this film, stepping away from the comedy that has held him back before. John Malkovich gets to be over the top like only he could, being a joy to watch in this film.

StoryThe story here follows two young drug dealers that decide to try and make a move up the ladder against a man they don’t know, seeing how things don’t get as messed as they imagined it would, but needing to solve the problems produced. This does look at how the drug world operates in the country area in America, it doesn’t making it an all out drug war, it plays out more tactical in the approach to dealing with what is going on between the two sides. The story is also told in chapter form, which does give great time to let the characters develop through the film.

CrimeThe crime side of the film follows two men getting deeper into the drug world in the open country area, this isn’t gangsters, just men looking to make money and run a business for themselves.

SettingsThe film uses the country setting very well to show how relaxed the world is, it takes away the full blown guns out approach other drug lord movies include.

Scene of the Movie – The first meeting between the three.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain side stories don’t need to be here.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting new spin on the drug dealers and drug lords movies, everything is a lot calmer on the approach, which does show us just how the world would operate away from the big city.

Overall: Relaxed Drug Lord Film.

Lionsgate UK presents southern-fried crime thriller Arkansas on Digital Download 13 July & DVD 20 July

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – J – Aladdin (2019) Movie Review

This is under J because it is about Aladdin trying to win Jasmine’s heart.

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie, John August (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnuessen

Plot: A kind-hearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make their deepest wishes come true.

Tagline – Choose wisely.

Runtime: 2 Hour 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Lacks the Magic

Story: Aladdin starts as we meet the street urchin Aladdin (Massoud) who is always looking to make his meal ticket with his quick hands, saving Jasmine (Scott) who is pretending to be a local, escaping from her strict father’s (Negahban) rules, experience the thrill of the city. Jafar (Kenzari) is scheming to make his own plans for when the Sultan is gone, waiting for make his own move on Princess Jasmine, against her own mother’s kingdom.

After being caught in the act by Jafar forces Aladdin on his own search for treasure, in search of the lamp with will give him power, only Aladdin keeps the lamp for himself, where he meets the Genie (Smith) who grants him wishes, where he must master the power behind it.

Thoughts on Aladdin

Characters – Aladdin is a street urchin that has quick hands which keeps food available for him, he gets a chance meeting with the rebellious princess, falling in love, showing his honest ways, only he is too poor to be considered anybody that could be with her. He gets forced to steal the magic lamp only to be betrayed and left for dead. Once he learns the power of the lamp, he tries to use it to win Jasmine’s heart, whatever the cost, not being like the other princes that try to win her heart. Princess Jasmine has been held away from the world by her strict father who is scared for her life until she marries a prince, she doesn’t want to just marry royalty, she wants to become her own leader to the people of her city. Genie is who comes out of the lamp to offer Aladdin the three wishes, he does explain how the wishes unfold and wants to help Aladdin create the best wishes, using her natural charisma. Jafar is the second in command of the city, he is planning his own rise to rule the city, with or without Jasmine on his arm.

PerformancesThis movie does have a string of performances that have glimpses from Naomi Scott and Will Smith, only we don’t see everything we could about them, while Mena Massoud lacks the spark for the Aladdin we have known, while Marwan Kenzari just doesn’t come off as evil as he should.

StoryThe story here follows a street urchin who finds a magical lamp and uses it to hopefully win the heart of the princess of the kingdom, where he must learn his own responsibility about life isn’t just about the power of three wishes. Being a remake of the animation, we know where the story will go and it doesn’t differ to any major levels and does continue to show the important message, power and money won’t by you happiness, while showing strict rules that could be broken for somebody to have their own happiness when it comes to position in power.

Fantasy/RomanceWe do get the fantasy side of this film follows the idea of a genie granting wishes, which is interesting, only not fully expressed, while the romance is there and is more about breaking down the walls over anything.

SettingsThe film does us the settings to show us the different world that Aladdin and Jasmine are from, with the cave being such a wonderful location too, only we don’t spend enough time there.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film have moments looking amazing, only for them to not look that great all the way through.

Scene of the Movie – The cave.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Aladdin and Jafar just aren’t interesting enough.

Final Thoughts This just is just like a glossy remake that just doesn’t have the magic it should leaving us feel like we have missed out on something bigger and better.

Overall: Simple and not enjoyable.