Writer: Mattson Tomlin (Screenplay)
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback, Rodrigo Santoro, Courtney B Vance, Amy Landecker
Plot: When a pill that gives its users unpredictable superpowers for five minutes hits the streets of New Orleans, a teenage dealer and a local cop must team with an ex-soldier to take down the group responsible for its creation.
Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Plenty of Sparks
Story: Project Power starts as we learn about a new drug, one that gives you a new user an ability for five minutes, not all are good though, teenage dealer Robin (Fishback) is protected by cop Frank (Gordon-Levitt) who uses the drug to equal the odds on criminals, while Art (Foxx) is searching for the people who are selling the drug.
Thoughts on Project Power
Characters – Art has arrived in New Orleans in search of people that took his daughter, the former military man will break down doors, shoot anyone who crosses him, but will give them all a fair chance to explain their involvement in the situation. He is wanted by people who are involved, dangerous in a fight, relentless in the hunt. Frank is a street-smart cop that uses the drug to fight back against other users, he isn’t afraid to go against the rules and is left to hunt down Art before learning the truth, he is also useless with a gun. Robin is the young teenage dealer that works with Frank, she supplies him, while he protects her. When it comes to the dealers, creators and middlemen, we are left with pretty flat characters here.
Performances – Jamie Foxx brings the toughness required for the role, with the determination shining through from him, Joseph Gordon-Levitt works well as the gritty cop that is more honest that most on the force. Newcomer Dominique Fishback is great addition to the leads in the film, she shows us the desire of a better future from a teenager.
Story – The story here follows a teenage dealer, cop and a visitor to New Orleans who are caught up in the middle of a new drug that gives abilities for five minutes for the user, with a host of different consequences. We do get an original idea here that mixes the drug usage consumption with superhero abilities, showing how the fixes people want can come at a price. We do get the characters we would expect to see in the crime side of a film like this, only the villains are very flat, not given enough time to make a true impact on the film. We do spend a lot of the film waiting to see what powers could be unleashed, wanting to see side effects etc, with most being created well, we just could have seen some more bad effects.
Action/Sci-Fi – The action comes from the fighting, which is a mix of good and bad, with certain moments coming off very well, while we get the typical over the top moments too. The sci-fi side of the film brings a fresh approach to a X-Men idea mixed with drug usage, showing the effects, which could easily be seen as the true side effects of the drug.
Settings – New Orleans is the setting for this film, which is important for the bigger picture of the events, even if we don’t get any of the iconic locations for the events to unfold in.
Special Effects – The effects in the film are strong, we get moments when the transformations are happening, each one looks great and does enough to look fresh in the world where we have seen it too often.
Scene of the Movie – The sell meeting.
Final Thoughts – This is a nice original movie that breaths something new in the superhero idea, mixing it with the drug underworld, with a dash of The Purge to give us an entertaining ride.
Writer: Ben Rekhi, Rona Lean Sales (Screenplay)
Starring: Arthur Acuna, Alessandra De Rossi, Jack Macapagal
Plot: After her husband is mysteriously killed in the drug wars of the Philippines, a widowed mother of three must confront her own darkness to protect her children from further harm.
Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Hard Hitting
Story: Watch List starts as we meet a Filipino family father Hector and mother Maria (Rossi) along with their three kids, surrounding to a police state, trying to help the families stay clean, they have left the criminal world behind, with Hector looking to work hard for him family, only he gets mysterious murdered.
Maria must first deal with the grief of losing her husband, before needing to find a way to secure money for her children, this sees her needing to turn to the dangerous underground of drugs, as this is left to be her only option to keep her family safe, but with the reward, comes the risk she must take.
Thoughts on Watch List
Characters – Maria is left in a position where he needs to feed her children after her husband is murdered, she must turn to the people from a former life for help, taking her to a life of crime, one that will see her needing to learn to kill, something isn’t willing to do. She has no choice as it is the only way she can make money, but it left torn between the two lives. We do get to meet Maria’s kids wo are being swung towards the criminal life, the people who offer Maria a chance to make money for her family.
Performances – Alessandra de Rossi in the leading role is excellent, she does show us the pain she is going through to get through her future with her kids, she shows us that it is them or no one. The rest of the cast is strong who letting Rossi shine through in the leading role.
Story – The story here follows a mother left in a difficult position after her husband is murdered and she needs to find a way to support her three children. We are shown how desperate people will become when it comes to their family, how the life of crime might well be the only option available, we see how this world would operate and just how dangerous it will be, with dangers come from within it or from the people trying to stop it. It highlights how people could become causalities in the battle for power.
Crime/Thriller – This film does show us the reality of the criminal world in the Philippines that gives people little chance to live an honest life with both sides of the world.
Settings – The film takes us to the tight streets where everyone lives, showing us how the criminals and honest people can live hand in hand, as long as they don’t get in each other’s way.
Scene of the Movie – The training.
Final Thoughts – This is a hard hitting drama that shows the struggles one mother would have to experience to make it through after losing her husband. Alessandra de Rossi is fantastic in the leading role.
Overall: Alessandra de Rossi is fantastic.
Writer: Bob Barlen, Cal Brunker (Screenplay) Scott Bindley, Peter Lepeniotis (Characters)
Starring: (Voice Talents) Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Bobby Cannavale, Bobby Moynihan, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, Jackie Chan, Katherine Heigl
Plot: Following the events of the first film, Surly and his friends must stop Oakton City’s mayor from destroying their home to make way for a dysfunctional amusement park.
Tagline – A nutty adventure for the whole family!
Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Much Better Than it Should Be
Story: The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature starts as we return to Liberty Park, Surly however has bought the animals to the now abandoned nut store, turning them lazy to surviving. Andie the love interest of Surly is still trying to make the animals use their instincts to survive in the park.
When the nut shop explodes the animals must return to the park, only the Mayor has decided to turn the park into an amusement park, the animals must fight for the park.
Thoughts on The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
Characters – Surly is the free-thinking squirrel that the animals in the park look up to, he does want to keep life easy, but when the park is in danger he must show how willing he is to fight for it using his ability to lead. Andie wants to keep the animals in the park using instinct to survive, be the opposite to Surly and the love interest for him. Precious is back after the first film the dog that joined the park, she gets plenty of laughs. We do get plenty of animals that are used in the fight against the humans, each gets plenty of laughs, the humans are made to be villainous with some of the being close to the line of psychotic.
Story – The story is very simple and we have seen this style before, it shows the animals needing to fight for their home which the humans want to destroy. We get plenty of slapstick comedy to help with the fights, while the human characters are made to be truly villainous in their actions, giving us complete support for the animals. There are moments in the story which are going too far, the daughter of the mayor being abusive to the dogs is one of them, while we are glad that the humans get what they deserve by the end of the film, it can’t be helped but to think this can be misleading to the younger audience. The story does feel like it is easy to watch than the first one and for animation it will be a fun hour and half.
Action/Comedy/Family – The action plays into the comedy nicely, with most being slapstick which works for animation and the references to more famous fighting or action sequences will get a laugh from the older audience members which helps the whole family enjoy this one.
Settings – The film keeps us in the same city, we have the beautiful park which is getting destroyed, with have the city which is dangerous for the animals, this isn’t anything ground breaking for settings, but it is everything we need.
Animation – The animation standard is as always great to see, we can’t fault the techniques used with nothing looking out of place in the film.
Final Thoughts – This is a surprisingly entertaining sequel that I had zero expectations going in watching, it will get laughs and does keep the story nice and simple to follow.
Overall: Fun family film.