Letterbox Breakdown – The Podcast – Episode 1 – Owen Wilson
The Expat – Movie Review
Director: Gregory Segal
Writer: Gregory Segal (Screenplay)
- Lovely Abella (Dragon Lady)
- Mon Confiado (Heneral Luna)
- Lev Gorn (Maniac)
- Leo Martinez
Plot: A PTSD-stricken former American Marine on vacation in the Philippines becomes the prime suspect in a series of murders of his romantic partners.
Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Expat starts as former American Marine Nick (Gorn) takes a vacation in the Philippines. He finds a hotel and jumps on the dating websites, meeting a different woman each night. When detective Cruz (Confiado) gets called in for the death of one of these women, it doesn’t take long before a second body turns up.
Nick becomes the prime suspect and soon after, every woman he sees turns up dead. This leaves Nick in a race to discover the truth if he is ever going to get out of the country until he starts to fall in love.
Verdict on The Expat
Nick is a former American Marine who is looking for a break in life after his PTSD experiences. He wants a chance to relax away from the world, choosing the Philippines for this time. Going around town he meets women for one-night stands, only the day after, they are found dead. He is the prime suspect in the case, needing to try and prove his innocence.
Cruz is the detective investigating the case, he will use rough measures for the answers. Trying to get the truth out of Nick, while not giving away everything, teaching the younger officers how to handle to the case.
Delilah is a single mother that Nick meets, she is the one he falls for and doesn’t treat the same as the others he meets. She has struggled to make ends meet for her son, seeing the good in Nick despite the reputation he has around the area.
Lev Gorn is in the leading role in the movie, he does make his character look like an average guy on holiday. The problem in this performance comes from the fact he never looks worried about what is happening. The supporting cast is solid enough, but nobody makes us feel like we are truly in the environment.
The story follows an American marine on vacation in the Philippines who becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. After the women, he spends the nights with are found dead. He needs to figure out what is happening before it becomes too clear as to why he is involved.
This does create an interesting mystery, but never feels as intense as it should be. Considering this is an American accused of a serious crime in a country that would give them no support against the crimes. There aren’t main clues placed along the way to suggest who could be behind it either. The added PTSD side of Nick’s character doesn’t get played on enough, as it looks like it is wanted to be used as part of the potential outcomes,
The Expat is a mystery thriller that looks to solve a string of murders in the Philippines. It uses the location to show a tourist adapting to the area, while the murders are hidden in the alleyways. As previously mentioned, the thriller side of the film isn’t as intense as it should be, leaving plenty of the film feeling flat.
Final Thoughts –The Expat is a tidy thriller that lacks intensity.
Moloch – Folklore Treat
Director: Nico van den Brink
Writer: Daan Bakker, Nico van den Brink (Screenplay)
Starring: Sallie Harmsen, Anneke Blok, Noor van der Velden, Fred Goessens, Alexandre Willaume
Plot: Betriek lives at the edge of a peat bog in the North of the Netherlands. When she and her family are attacked by a random stranger one night, Betriek sets out to find an explanation. The more she digs, the more she becomes convinced that she is being hunted by something ancient.
Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Moloch starts as we meet widowed Betriek (Harmsen) living with her young daughter Hanna (Velden) near a peat bog. One that has attracted a research team. One-night Betriek tells her story to a member of the team Jonas (Williaume) and how the town believe she is cursed.
After Betriek and her family get attacked by a man in their home. Playing into the bigger curse that surrounds the family, Betriek believes she is in danger, because of a discovery in the bog days before.
Thoughts on Moloch
Characters & Performances
Betriek is the widowed mother who has given up her dreams to make this life the best she can for her daughter. Returning home, where he works in the school, despite the town thinking she is caused because of what happened to her husband. When her family is attacked, she will learn more about the folklore around the mystery in the bog. To save her daughter and herself.
Jonas is the archaeologist that arrives in the bog after a body is discovered, looking into the history of the area with his team. He is one of the few people that will listen to the stories that Betriek has. As she will need to put the science, he knows against the folklore he has been told.
When it comes to the supporting characters, we do have the other family members and members of the digging team. Who fill in the blanks or are the people that need protecting. Sallie Harmsen and Alexandre Willaume are both great in the leading roles, dealing with the unexplained questioning what they once believed.
Moloch will follow a widowed mother who finds her family under attack after a local dig makes a shocking discovery in the local bog. Moloch will bring us into the folklore side of stories, where a town believes one thing. While not taking it too seriously, that starts to come back to haunt the residents. As they need to figure out the truth behind the folklore to make sure they stay safe.
There balance between science and folklore comes through well between Betriek and Jonas interactions. There will be a tension being created around everything that is happening in the story, with how the story keeps us guessing to where the movie will end up going.
Moloch is a horror thriller that will use the folklore around the mystery about what happened on the bog. The bog will be used to show the murky environment that the events take place in. when it comes to the horror in the film, we get a nice mix of different styles which offer something different for each moment to unfold.
Final Thoughts – Moloch is a great atmospheric horror, balancing the folklore and science worlds together.
Lion Spy – Disturbing yet Important Documentary
Director: Rogue Rubin
Plot: Part thriller, part exposé, the dramatic new documentary, LION SPY- has it all. When a young woman who wants to prevent the extinction of wild lions. She decides to create a false identity to portray herself as a “big game photographer”. Rather seamlessly infiltrates the male dominated world of trophy hunters in Africa. Putting herself at tremendous personal risk. As she explores clandestine operations, alone with men and guns. Amidst the isolated African plains, she realises if she is found out she will be killed. What she captures on camera literally takes your breath away. With an outcome no one could have imagined, this is a documentary that cannot be missed.
Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Thoughts on Lion Spy
Lion Spy is a documentary, that will come with a massive WARNING. Showing director Rogue Rubin as she gave herself a new identity to go undercover. She will risk everything to learn how the trophy hunting world operates. Needing to earn the respect from the hunters to get the evidence she needed.
We get to learn about how the discuss about trophy hunting is for conservation purposes. With the income from the hunter meant to be going into the country’s economy. Rogue looks to expose this as lies.
She gets the abuse from creating the undercover persona, questioning how people could do this to someone. Especially someone who is trying to help. The problem is nobody knows she is undercover. This will take an emotional toll on her, adding to the pressure she feels on each hunt.
This is a tragic documentary, that isn’t going to be easy to watch for anyone. Seeing the twisted pleasure the hunters get from photos, leaves you shaking your head in disgust.
The bigger question you would be left having after this. Would be ‘Why not donate the money to help the animals and have somewhere named after you’ it would help the animals without a blood sport.
Final Thoughts – Lion Spy is a disturbing documentary, one that needs to expose the truth.
ABC Film Challenge – Animation – R – Racetime (2018)
Director: Benoit Godbout, Jean-Francois Pouliot, Francois Brisson
Writer: Claude Landry, Maxime Landry, Paul Risacher, Lienne Sawatsky, Daniel Williams (Screenplay)
Starring: (Voice Talents) Lucinda Davis, Dawn Ford, Don W Shepherd, Tod Fennell, Angela Galuppo, Sonja Ball
Plot: Ready, Set, Snow. Frankie and Sophie challenge newcomers Zac and Charlie to an epic sled race, only to break down right before the finish line. Convinced that Zac cheated, Frankie demands a rematch and raises the stakes by betting his team’s clubhouse. Frankie and the gang build a spectacular new race track and the stage is set for the biggest race of the season.
Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Racetime starts as we meet a community of young snow sled racers. Frankie being the best designer and Sophie being the best driver. They have a clubhouse which will see all the kids in the community come together for entertainment to make and compete friendly with each other.
When new kids Zac and Charlie arrive in town, they get challenged by Frankie and much to Frankie’s surprise. Winning leaving Frankie investigating what happened, believing Zac cheated. Frankie challenges Zac to another race, one with bigger stakes, the clubhouse.
Thoughts on Racetime
Frankie spends his time designing sleds to use in races, he prides himself on being the best working with the community, even with his short temper. His competitive side will always get the best of him, putting his friendships on the line.
Zac is the new kid in town that has been working on trying to make an impact in the town. He does use cheating tactics, but he is filled with a loneliness that only one of the other kids gets to learn about.
Sophie and Charlie are the hotshot racers that often have the guys around the town doing anything for them. The supporting cast is filled with many different supporting characters. Each one will have their place in group, showing their importance to the friendship between the people in the town.
The story follows a group of snow sled racers that have friendly competitions between each other. Until a new kid comes to town and offers up a new challenge. One that will push one kid Frankie to the limit of what he is willing to do to become the best in town.
This is a story that shows the importance of friendship while growing up. Showing people will make mistakes that can cause pain to each other. It is learning to adapt to mistakes that brings people together. We do also get the message that cheating never prosper. It is told in a nice way that will appeal to a younger audience, while still having a few adult jokes along the way.
Racetime is a family animated movie that has a wonderful design to make this enjoyable to watch. The different racecourses being involved in the races. Different character designs that will show the importance of friendship and understanding other people’s hardships. It does have something for everyone, even if it is targeted to the younger audience.
The Last Son is available on digital from 8th August.
Brand-new bloody and brutal western THE LAST SON sees Sam Worthington as an outlaw hellbent on ending his evil family line. This fierce feature has a stellar all-star cast including Colson Baker aka musician Machine Gun Kelly, Thomas Jane and Heather Graham and makes its UK debut this August from 101 Films.
Directed by Tim Sutton (Donnybrook, Funny Face) this no-holds barred, action-filled, shoot-em-up, slice-em-up, wild western takes us to a lawless, depraved America in 1888.
It’s the bleakest of winters and LeMay (Worthington) arrives on horseback in the Sierra Nevada foothills, armed to the hilt for his mission… to kill the last of his children, two heirs he fathered with prostitutes and relinquished responsibility for.
He believes evil is hereditary and in a strange, inexplicable act of social conscience, has taken it upon himself to wipe his wicked family line from the earth. But it’s not long before LeMay discovers he has a third child, a twin, Cal (Baker) who is a terrifying manifestation of his fears…
True to form, Cal is rampaging with his band of no-good, gun-toting sidekicks. Having brutally massacred his old commanding officer and robbed a bank with a stolen gun worth a small fortune, Cal is on the run and headed for more trouble. His first stop is his mother (Graham), who he’s determined make rethink her profession, whatever it takes… and then there’s the matter of his dangerous Dad on his tail…
Does the bloodline end here or will darkness prevail in The Last Son?
Live if Life – Movie Review
Director: Dani de la Torre
Writer: Albert Espinosa (Screenplay)
- Adrian Baena
- Juan del Pozo
- Raul del Pozo
- David Rodriguez
- Javier Casellas
Plot: Five friends spend one last summer together as they begin transitioning to adulthood.
Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Live is Life starts as Rodri (Baena) is escaping the city life for the summer vacation, away from the school bullies. Joining his best friends Maza (Raul Del Pozo), Suso (Rodriguez), Garriga (Casellas) and the cancer-infected Alvaro (Juan del Pozo), the five look to have a summer adventure.
Rodri wants to lead the adventure to locate a plant that is meant to help cure medical problems. With the hope of helping Suso’s father who has been in a coma since an accident. This is an adventure the friends will remember for the rest of their lives.
Verdict on Live is Life
Rodri has been bullied at school and can’t wait to see his closest friends for the summer. His father is strict with him, but he has arranged a camping trip with his best friends. This sees him holding the group together and like them all escaping his life for a while.
Alvaro has cancer and has been going through his treatment with this time being his time with friends. His friends have kept him strong through the treatments and remain positive. He does have the most powerful scene in the movie, one that makes him stand out from the rest.
Maza is the twin brother of Alvaro, he always puts on a strong face despite his brother’s illness. He will get a chance to show his sensitive side when he reveals how he truly feels.
Suso gets to go on his own journey along the way, one unlike the rest of the group. He will show a greater level of maturity too. The journey is mostly for him, in an attempt to find a cure for his father.
Garriga is the fifth member of the group, he tends to worry more than the rest, being nervous a lot of the time. He suggests the party the group could go to and gets to have his own big moment in life there.
This movie has an excellent cast between the five young stars who show exceptional chemistry on their adventure. Each cast member has a moment to shine, through the adventure. Juan del Pozo has the stand-out moment, but the rest get the emotional moments too.
The story follows five friends that are looking to have a summer adventure. One of the group is ill having to fight cancer, this trip gives the friends a coming-of-age story to remember.
When it comes to coming-of-age tales, it is all about the connection between the friends and the adventure they go on to find themselves. This story manages to make every single member of the group have an important life moment. One that they share with their best friends, so they can see the struggles they are going through.
For a coming-of-age tale, this is easily one of the best and most mature ones you will see in years. The friendship and connection between friends are so strong, that the emotion is pure and will bring a tear to your eyes.
Live is Life is an adventure comedy coming-of-age tale. Taking our characters through an amazingly beautiful Spanish countryside as they search for a flower. They will get themselves into trouble along the way, but most importantly they solve the problems together, as friends.
Where to Watch: Live if Life is on Netflix now.
Final Thoughts – Live is Life is a brilliant coming-of-age tale, filled with joy, emotion and tears, proving friendship is key to life.
Letterbox Breakdown – Idris Elba
Studying through the stats on Letterbox, it becomes fascinating to see who has become the most-watched star and whether they should be number one. I am going to be looking through the roles and see if the numbers add up to different roles and importance within the film. Exploring to see who has the most leading roles, supporting roles or just random cameos. Without further ado, let’s explore.
ACTOR – 34 Films
Current Rank – Unranked
First, I will look at the number of different roles the actor has portrayed.
Number of different roles – 29
Roles in more than one film – 1 Heimdall in Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Roles In Film
Second, I will explore the position in the film the star portrayed.
Leading Roles – 6
Idris hasn’t always managed to make himself a leading man, despite the amount of respect he has gathered through the years. His TV work has never been questioned, but his Box Office draw is always the most complicated thing to get involved in.
His leading roles included the disappointing ‘Dark Tower’ and ‘Obsessed’. The excellent ‘Harder They Fall’ and ‘Mandela’. the remaining two are the franchises Pacific Rim’ and ‘The Suicide Squad’ where he received positive reviews for his work.
Co-Star – 3
It could be argued that some of his leading performances are mot co-leads too, but for now, we have his romantic drama with Kate Winslet ‘The Mountain Between Us’, horror thriller ‘No Good Deed’ and slick action movie ‘The Losers’.
Supporting Roles – 22
It is clear that Idris has tended to be a supporting cast member. Often taking villainous roles, with the most recent string including. Cats, Hobbs and Shaw, Sonic 2 and Star Trek Beyond. He has also lent his voice in supporting roles with, Zootopia, Finding Dory and Jungle Book.
Idris has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, hence why he took so many supporting roles in films. It will always have his respect for working his way up to leading man. The best supporting role would be his outstanding performance in ‘Beasts of No Nation‘.
Cameos – 3
When it comes to the Cameos, Idris doesn’t appear in any outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Heimdall makes three different cameo appearances in the franchise.
The Missing Roles
This is a list of the biggest movies I haven’t yet seen from Idris Elba
- Bastille Day
- The Gunman
- This Christmas
The date the stats were looked at – 14th July 2022